JPMorgan Chase and Citi Foundation Are Key Players in Creating Hubs of Opportunity
If you live in a decently sized U.S. city, chances are you don’t live too far away from a branch of one of the Big Four banks: Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citi. You probably bank with one of them yourself. Like it or not, these companies have become a ubiquitous feature of America’s urban landscape. In recent years, they've also been stepping up their philanthropic efforts.
Like many major corporations these days, the big banks are adopting more strategic approaches to giving that draw on their assets and are more in sync with company-wide objectives, including the quest for profit. From workforce and youth to community development and entrepreneurship, banks tend to support causes that boost the urban economies and labor forces they themselves thrive on. Along the way, they've become increasingly central players in big city philanthropy.
When the Citi Foundation debuted its first cohort of Community Progress Makers Fund grants in 2016, its commitment to “flagship partnerships” was clear. Across six major U.S. cities, the program awarded $20 million in general operating support. Brandee MacHale, the Citi Foundation’s president, describes the approach as “venture philanthropy—a chance to invest in the vision and mission of these organizations who are helping positively transform their communities.”
Last month, after a two-year run with the first group of nonprofits, Citi announced the program’s second grantee cohort...