A Different Way to Give
A Conversation with Two Nonprofit Leaders
In the U.S., individuals, corporations and foundations donated an estimated $335 billion to nonprofits in 2013, the highest dollar amount in American history according to a July 2014 study conducted by the Giving USA Foundation. And while that figure is a testament to the tremendous spirit of giving in the U.S., many charitable institutions across the country face tremendous challenges acquiring the expertise, data and other resources they need to carry out their missions. One way that corporations have been helping nonprofits address this challenge is by providing employee volunteers who donate their professional skills to help nonprofits build capacity.
Tara Cardone, Head of Employee Engagement and Volunteerism at JPMorgan Chase & Co., recently spoke with two nonprofit CEOs about the changing needs of America’s nonprofits and how new models of corporate philanthropy and volunteerism are making a difference in the city of Detroit. William F. Jones, Jr. is the CEO of Focus: HOPE, a renowned civil and human rights organization working to bridge the racial divide in southeast Michigan through food programs, career training programs and community development. Deirdre White is the CEO of PYXERA Global, a leading nonprofit organization that facilitates global pro bono programs and leverages the unique strengths of corporations, governments and social sector organizations to enhance the abilities of people and communities to solve complex problems and attain mutually beneficial goals.
Detroit has been through some tough times – are you seeing the kinds of change that will help the city recover economically, and what do you think it will take to expedite the recovery?
William F. Jones, Jr. (Focus: HOPE): The environment of Detroit is absolutely changing. We're in a post-bankruptcy environment and while I think we've got a lot to be proud of, there's more we can do as challenges change. We have to ask ourselves: how do we not only take advantage of what has happened, but accelerate our efforts and double down on the things that really, really work here? We are focused on embracing new opportunities and technology. Technology allows us to train people differently, but it's also creating different job opportunities, and as an organization that helps people in our community, we have to be able to evolve with these changes.
Deirdre White (PYXERA Global): Detroit nonprofits have a sense of urgency that you don't always see in other cities across the U.S. In Detroit we see a strong desire from corporations to contribute more to the positive change in the community.
What are some of the new corporate philanthropy opportunities that are working in Detroit to help accelerate the recovery?
William F. Jones, Jr. (Focus: HOPE):
Financial contributions are vital to keeping the doors open and the lights on for nonprofits, but as the CEO, I want our organization to do as much for our community as possible. I want to make certain that we've got an extremely high-performing, high-impact team here at Focus: HOPE.
JPMorgan Chase, through the Detroit Service Corps, is helping us with this specific challenge by lending Focus: HOPE three executives to help us with our HR strategy. Human Resources is a vitally important department for us – it carries through to everything we do. We have to know how to manage talent in order to recruit talent and continue to train talent, and ultimately deploy talent across the organization as necessary and to meet new challenges today and tomorrow. JPMorgan's Detroit Service Corps is going to provide us with great tools in order to affect those types of changes and to take advantage of those opportunities.
Deirdre White (PYXERA Global): One challenge in working for a nonprofit organization is that we are so mission-focused. We sometimes have our eyes so much on that ball and on where we're trying to go that we oftentimes either forget or are unable to garner opinions from outside sources. But we can see that the corporate community in Detroit is offering the city's nonprofits new perspectives and access to expertise they would not otherwise have.
What makes the Detroit Service Corps a unique model of corporate philanthropy?
William F. Jones, Jr. (Focus: HOPE): The executives on loan here at Focus: HOPE bring a whole set of different perspectives to our organization. They come from a business world that's extremely competitive. They bring to us not only deep knowledge of best practices, but also a sense of the urgency in getting these things done. So, I think it's a brilliant move on their part to help us build capacity here in Detroit. That's one thing that is all too often overlooked. So, it's smart, it's precise, it's value added, and I love it.
Deirdre White (PYXERA Global): JPMorgan Chase was strategic in its choice to couple human expertise with a five-year $100 million financial investment. This will help Detroit organizations not only gain access to much needed funding – it's going to extend a body of professional knowledge to make those dollars go further. What's equally unique about the Detroit Service Corps is that it brings international employees here to the US to give their professional talent to an underserved market like Detroit, which is something we don't often see.
Focus: HOPE, co-founded in 1968 by Father William Cunningham and Eleanor Josaitis, is an organization dedicated to intelligent and practical solutions to the problems of hunger, economic disparity, inadequate education, and racial divisiveness. The 45-year-old nonprofit is a nationally renowned civil and human rights organization diligently working to bridge the racial divide in southeast Michigan through its food program, career training programs and HOPE Village Initiative.
PYXERA Global is a nonprofit organization in the field of international development that strives to create groundbreaking partnerships between the public, private, and social sectors that leverage the unique attributes of each to create shared value and innovative solutions to complex challenges.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. partners with both Focus: HOPE and PYXERA Global as part of the Detroit Service Corps, a new five-year program that sends teams of top-performing JPMorgan Chase employees to Detroit to help strengthen the city's nonprofit community. The initial Detroit Service Corps is made up of 12 JPMorgan Chase employees from across lines of business and locations around the world including New York, Sydney, São Paulo, Mumbai and Hong Kong. For more information about our commitment to Detroit visit http://www.jpmorganchase.com/detroit.