To Help Washington, D.C., Thrive, Focus on the Communities
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because you can grow both your business and your community.
By Kirsten Clodfelter
OZY and JPMorgan Chase have partnered to take a deeper look at how businesses can impact society for the better. Enjoy the rest of our special series here.
Neighborhoods across Washington, D.C., have been experiencing major revitalization; however, east of the Anacostia River, many of the tight-knit, historic communities in Wards 7 and 8 largely remain insulated from the growing economy.
With economic development plans in the works, the area is already seeing some signs of positive change. For example, plans for an elevated bridge park are underway — with a focus on recreation, the environment and the arts. Alongside several residential revitalization projects, highly desired services such as retail shops and restaurants are cropping up too — from Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.’s new Busboys & Poets, to a Walgreens, to a new Chase branch.
In fact, Chase’s new branch in Anacostia — which opened its doors in December 2018 — is one of the first of 70 new Chase branches planned to open in Greater Washington, from Baltimore to Northern Virginia. Diminishing access to financial services is an issue that disproportionately affects low-income working families and minorities. And given that 20 percent of Chase’s new branches in the region will be in low- and moderate-income communities, the company is hoping to help minimize this disparity.
“We view this as an important opportunity to say, ‘Let’s grow this region, but let’s grow it in an inclusive way. Let’s grow it in a way that truly creates opportunity for more people,’” says Peter Scher, global head of corporate responsibility and chairman of the Mid-Atlantic region at JPMorgan Chase.
In addition to expanding its footprint in the area with new branches, JPMorgan Chase also announced that the company is increasing wages for branch employees to no less than $18 per hour. With a plan to hire 700 people across the region, each branch is being designed to reflect and meet the unique needs of its respective community. In fact, when designing the new branches, the company teamed up with a local nonprofit, Arts on the Block, to create intricate community-inspired mosaics by middle and high school youth.
When communities thrive, our business thrives.
Peter Scher, global head of corporate responsibility at JPMorgan Chase
As Washington, D.C., continues to grow, more and more newcomers are heading east of the river — and with them comes the risk of gentrification and higher costs of living, as well as an increase in the number of highly-skilled jobs. But JPMorgan Chase is looking to drive responsible, inclusive growth in the area. Through its $25 million philanthropic commitment, the company hopes to promote job growth, support minority-owned small businesses, encourage neighborhood revitalization and improve financial health.
Continuing its work with local businesses and nonprofits, JPMorgan Chase aims to maintain a true community focus and ensure their investments are helping the neighborhoods, and residents, who need it most.
Speaking at the Anacostia branch opening event, Scher emphasized this focus: “When communities thrive, our business thrives. As we expand into this community, we have been doing a lot of listening to ensure our growing presence reflects the character of each neighborhood.”
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- Kirsten Clodfelter, OZY Author Contact Kirsten Clodfelter