JPMorgan Chase is committing $20 million to increase opportunities for Black and Latina women developers and expand housing for low-income Baltimoreans.
“I want to start by thanking JPMorgan Chase for committing $20 million towards closing the racial wealth divide in the Baltimore region,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott said in a statement. “This critical investment ties directly into our shared vision for equitable, community-based development and economic growth across Baltimore City. We can’t emerge as a stronger community if we don’t invest in the economic well-being of Black and Latina women.”
The investment banking company awarded a $5 million grant to a collaborative called POWER: Prioritizing Our Women’s Economic Rise, which is led by the Latino Economic Development Center in partnership with the Baltimore City government, the University of Maryland and other local organizations.
That grant is part of the company’s Advancing Cities initiative to invest in underserved communities and “drive inclusive growth.” The initiative has been active in the Greater Washington region since 2017, but this is the first investment in Baltimore City.
“Thanks to this investment from JPMorgan Chase, the POWER collaborative will be able to develop wealth-building pathways for Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed (ALICE) Black and Latina women in West Baltimore,” Deputy Mayor Faith Leach said in a statement.
Leach said the money will support investment in small business development, skills training, and affordable real estate development/homeownership.
“By providing training in these key areas, direct support to grow women entrepreneurs, and by supporting a specific sector of high impact women entrepreneurs – affordable housing developers – we can create a continuum of wealth creation for Black and Latinx women and contribute to a safe, healthy, and thriving communities in West Baltimore and across the City,” Leach said.
JPMorgan Chase also awarded $2 million to Parity Homes to create 200 new homeownership opportunities for low-income households and a construction apprenticeship program. The funds are meant to help residents and community groups to buy and fix up properties in neighborhoods with a large number of vacant homes.
The financial commitment comes on the heels of a fire at a vacant row home in Southwest Baltimore on Monday morning, which resulted in the deaths of three firefighters who were trapped when the home partially collapsed, and the injury of another firefighter who is in “fair condition” as of Tuesday. That same vacant property was the site of another fire in 2015.
Officials said they will announce plans for the remaining $13 million of JPMorgan Chase’s $20 million commitment in the coming months.
JPMorgan Chase’s $20 million investment is part of the company’s $30 billion commitment to close the racial wealth gap and implement more racially equitable economic practices. It is also part of a $75 million, five-year commitment specifically to address needs in the Greater Washington region.
Peter Scher, vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co., said it is incumbent on companies like JPMorgan Chase to support members of their communities and help improve equitable opportunities.
“Business must do its part to help solve challenges facing the customers and communities it serves,” Scher said in a statement. “Addressing inequities requires concerted and sustained efforts by public and private sector partners that seek to build wealth for Communities of Color. This new commitment, along with what we’ve learned from growing our business and community support here, will hopefully be a model for others to follow and help create meaningful, lasting, and equitable change in the region.”