Financial capital is just one of the resources JPMorgan Chase is bringing to
bear in Detroit. Through our Detroit Service Corps, some of our most talented
employees are putting their skills and expertise to work on behalf of our nonprofit
partners, helping them strengthen their capacity to make a difference.
To date, we have sent three teams of employees – a
total of 36 individuals representing eight countries
– to Detroit to work full time for three weeks helping
these partners meet a particular need. Detroit Service Corps members have collectively contributed nearly 5,400 hours of their expertise, assisting with everything
from business plan development to human
Accounting Aid Society | Detroit Land Bank Authority | Eastern Market Corporation | Eastside Community Network | EcoWorks | Focus: HOPE | Greening of Detroit | Michigan Community Resources | TechTown | Vanguard CDC | Youth Development Commission
My Detroit "Reality Show" Experience
By Jennifer Prichard, Managing Director, J.P.Morgan Asset Management
In 2014, after nearly 15 years at JPMorgan
Chase, this is the opportunity I was presented
with: to be plucked out of my life, leaving my
day job and family – including my four small
children – for 21 days to go to a city that was in
bankruptcy, to work with a team of 11 people
I’d never met, to complete an unknown task.
My immediate thought? Sounds like a reality
I said yes.
My journey to Detroit as a member of the
inaugural JPMorgan Chase Service Corps cohort
was short by comparison: just a three-hour
drive from my home in Columbus, Ohio. Others
in our group came from São Paulo, Sydney,
Hong Kong, Mumbai and beyond.
My team of three was assigned to work
with Vanguard Community Development
Corporation, a not-for-profit that was looking
for ways to help stabilize Detroit’s historic North
Our task: quantify and determine the
viability of a financial model for Vanguard to
acquire, rehabilitate and sell homes in the
neighborhood. Three weeks later, after working
days on-site at Vanguard and evenings around
a conference table with my Service Corps
colleagues, my team delivered our results.
We recommended to Vanguard that the highest impact
use of the organization’s resources
would be to focus on helping existing North
End homeowners rehabilitate their homes –
work Vanguard continues today as part of its
ongoing efforts to enrich and revitalize the
neighborhood. We also provided Vanguard with
a broader business plan and financial model
for the organization’s long-term sustainability.
Our partners at Vanguard told us that they
appreciated how we helped them arrive at a
rigorous, business-based decision – and without
having to use any of the organization’s scarce
resources to pay a consultant to get there.
The project helped me to understand that
– despite our differences – there are also
similarities between not-for-profits like
Vanguard and corporations like JPMorgan
Chase. We both have to prioritize, be realistic
about our capacity and focus resources where
they can have the highest impact.
"Here in the North End, Vanguard is well-positioned to take advantage of
Detroit's emerging recovery – and it was a huge benefit to have the JPMorgan
Chase Service Corps members apply their skills to an assessment of
At the end of the three weeks, I
left Detroit having had an intense,
It gave me the opportunity to integrate
three things that are really important to me
personally. First, I am passionate about the
bank and the outreach it does in the community.
Second, I am passionate about volunteerism –
from being a member of my kids’ school board
to volunteering in the hospital helping new
mothers – I am deeply committed to engaging
in my community.
Last, I am a Midwesterner, and being a Service
Corps member allowed me to give back to a
great Midwestern city. In fact, going to Detroit
allowed me to come full circle in my career
at JPMorgan Chase in a way: When I started
working at the bank, one of my first roles was
to make the drive from Columbus to Detroit to
help integrate products from the National Bank
of Detroit market – one of JPMorgan Chase’s
From my experience in the Service Corps, I
gained a new sense of pride in the company I
work for, knowing it is not only willing to make
a $100 million commitment but also put boots
on the ground and lend its people’s expertise.
I developed a deep and enduring camaraderie
with my fellow participants.
I learned not to underestimate
the value of our people’s skills
For lean and mighty not-for-profits – full of
passionate people but sometimes lacking
the financial skills that are second nature to
bankers – this kind of intense work by the right
skill set can take something from the back
burner, put it on the front burner and bring it to
a boil. I am grateful to have been a part.
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