$10 million: The price tag to discover if JPMorgan is doing anything good

The Urban Institute will investigate the impact of the bank's corporate responsibility initiatives and philanthropic programs.

$10 million: The price tag to discover if JPMorgan is doing anything good
The Urban Institute and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have launched a multi-year program that is aimed at informing and assessing the impact of JPMorgan’s key philanthropic initiatives. The initiative marks Urban’s largest contribution to date from a corporate funder.
JPMorgan Chase will commit $10 million over five years for Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization, to examine the firm’s corporate responsibility initiatives and philanthropic programs focused on increasing economic opportunity and strengthening communities.
Urban said it will draw upon its deep policy expertise to produce research and analysis that will further strengthen these programs and provide wider knowledge and understanding of critical economic and social challenges.
JPMorgan Chase’s Corporate Responsibility programs focus on the economic growth of cities, strengthening workforce systems and achieving household financial stability, among other areas.
Urban will draw from its scholars and the work of its research and policy centers to:
  • Identify critical barriers to success and provide research and analysis that point the way to overcoming them;
  • Assess whether JPMorgan Chase’s philanthropic programs are achieving intended long-term outcomes;
  • Establish a learning network for JPMorgan Chase’s grantees and other leading experts to share best practices; and
  • Share lessons learned from these programs with the broader field of scholars, local leaders, practitioners and policymakers.
The decision to collaborate comes as JPMorgan Chase has launched long-term efforts to expand economic opportunity, such as the firm’s $250 million, five-year New Skills at Work initiative to help close the skills gap and its $100 million commitment to Detroit’s economic recovery. The firm said it is now seeking additional data and insight on the effectiveness of these programs.

In a May 2014 interview with Today, CEO Jamie Dimon said his company's $100 million investment in Detroit wasn't about public relations. "The cynic would be wrong," Dimon told Matt Lauer when asked if the investment was in response to a $13 billion fine levied against the company.

Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell explained that Urban’s goal is to elevate the public debate with evidence-based social and economic policy solutions. “Our job as researchers and analysts is to ask and answer the hard questions – ‘Is this program really working?’ ‘Have lives improved?’ ‘How can we do this better?’ JPMorgan Chase is committing to learn from the answers we provide, and our organizations each will play an important role in sharing that knowledge across sectors.”
“Urban Institute is at the leading edge of social policy research, and JPMorgan Chase is privileged to partner with them to better inform and strengthen our efforts to address some of society’s biggest challenges,” said Peter Scher, executive vice president and head of corporate responsibility at JPMorgan Chase.  “Over the next five years, our firm will deploy $1 billion dollars towards our philanthropic programs focused on creating economic growth and expanding access to opportunity.”
Later this year, Urban and JPMorgan Chase said they will begin to share findings through publicly available reports, briefings and convenings.