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- JPMorgan Chase‘s AdvancingCities initiative is a five-year, $500 million plan for investing in rising cities around the world.
- It announced the winners of its first contest for $3 million over three years: Chicago, Louisville, Miami, San Diego, and Syracuse.
- The money will go to coalitions of nonprofits that are working with local and state governments.
- This article is part of Business Insider’s ongoing series on Better Capitalism.
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JPMorgan Chase’s ambitious five-year, $500 million AdvancingCities plan has moved to five more cities.
On Thursday, CEO Jamie Dimon announced in Louisville, Kentucky, that the first winners of the initiative’s inaugural competition were Louisville; Chicago, Illinois; Miami, Florida; Syracuse, New York; and San Diego, California. Each will get $3 million in grants over the next three years, through a partnership with a local coalition.
"As we looked at each of these, every city brought something unique to the table, but all of them successfully built these local coalitions of public, private, and nonprofit leaders working to address a single challenge," AdvancingCities head Irene Baker told Business Insider.
The initiative has two components: one where the team selects cities to get large investments, and the other where local groups compete for smaller investments. So far, AdvancingCities has invested $30 million in Greater Paris and $10 million in Chicago’s South and West Sides. It launched last September, building on the momentum of the $100 million investment into Detroit since 2014.
More than 250 groups applied to the annual contest. "Even in cities where we didn’t choose things for this, we see other opportunities to potentially collaborate," Peter Scher, the bank’s head of corporate responsibility and one of Business Insider’s 100 People Transforming Business, told us. "The competition itself is revealing incredible models and opportunities that we think could be relevant well beyond just the AdvancingCities work."
The winners had to demonstrate a plan to leverage $3 million in a way that would take advantage of existing momentum in each of the cities. They also had to have an infrastructure demonstrating at least two of seven traits (collaboration, inclusive growth, taking on big problems by starting small, tracking progress through data, active community support, anchor institutions, and a proven ability to take risks and learn from experience).
Baker explained why the cities were chosen and how the money will be used:
Chicago: The investment will go to West Side United nonprofit, which will help connect low-wage workers to jobs in hospitals as well as support local entrepreneurs. Its proposal demonstrated how it would utilize existing partnerships with institutions in the West Side.
Louisville: A coalition of nonprofits led by Metro United Way developed a "Digital Inclusion and Economic Resilience" plan will use the investment to fund job-training programs that will connect candidates to jobs through a referral network. The plan stood out for its focus, centered on six specific low-income neighborhoods.
Miami: The investment will fuel Resilient305, a collaboration among Miami-Dade County, Miami, and Miami Beach’s city governments, and The Miami Foundation. It will develop long-term job security strategies with local businesses and residents, for the sake of adding resilience to economic downturns and damage caused by climate change. The AdvancingCities team was impressed by the scope of its plan and the breadth of its partnership.
San Diego: The San Diego Regional Economic Development nonprofit led a group of organizations in developing a plan aimed at creating 50,000 new small business jobs by 2030. Baker said the plan includes ways of breaking down silos to ensure that job training programs are teaching its candidates skills that are directly applicable to jobs in their region, particularly in high-growth business sectors.
Syracuse: The nonprofit CenterState CEO led a group of organizations that proposed a "Syracuse Surge" plan that is aimed at ensuring that incoming investments into the city will benefit all residents, rather than those in already privileged neighborhoods. The AdvancingCities team was impressed with the way the coalition is working with the local and state governments to ensure the inclusivity of Syracuse’s growth.
AdvancingCities will have a local and national evaluator to ensure that the city coalitions remain on track for meeting milestones that were agreed to in their proposals.
While this round of investments is smaller than the former ones from AdvancingCities, Baker said, "We want this $3 million to be the catalyst for this activity that we think is already underway."
Baker said she and her team are focused both on making the proposals work and collecting data on best practices for future investments. "It’s our first year with the challenge — it’s a learning year," she said.
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