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JPMorgan Chase Employees Have Been Strengthening Detroit Nonprofits for Five Years. Here’s How.
Since 2014, JPMorgan Chase’s Service Corps has sent nearly 150 employees to Detroit nonprofits to deepen the impact of their philanthropic investments
Shamyle Dobbs inherited a problem when she took the role as executive director and CEO of Detroit-based nonprofit Michigan Community Resources (MCR) in late 2017. After hours of combing through the analytics for the legal services nonprofit, two things were clear: MCR was going bankrupt, and the organization had just one week to turn around their operations if it wanted to keep its doors open.
At the same time, Keivan Raika, a JPMorgan Chase employee based in Delaware, was packing his bags. He was going on a business trip of sorts, but one that required his skills and focus for three straight weeks. Raika was heading to Detroit to volunteer at MCR along with three other JPMorgan Chase employees. The team was part of JPMorgan Chase’s Service Corps program, which challenges top-performing employees from around the world to put their skills and expertise to work on behalf of the company’s nonprofit partners.
Creating a Game Plan
Dobbs welcomed the JPMorgan Chase team to MCR with the financial challenge.
“We were about to lose our office space and were only a week away from closing our doors,” Dobbs said. “MCR has serviced over 1,200 nonprofits since its beginnings—to stop serving would have a profound impact on our community.”
Under Dobbs’ leadership, the JPMorgan Chase team quickly got to work, digging into HR and financial practices and providing a roadmap for financial stability. Together they realigned MCR’s priorities, ensuring that its programs, grant applications, and sponsorships all related to its overarching mission. The team reworked its board of director’s bylaws, outlined the roles and responsibilities of its senior managers, and proposed recommendations to secure additional sources of income.
Creating a Lasting Impact
“The Service Corps members quickly turned the problem into a solution oriented game plan,” Dobbs said. “In just one day, we revised the scope of work to meet our needs. It was a true turning point for the organization. Out of that meeting, we were able to position ourselves for repair and got back to the roots of our design.”
MCR is just one of the Detroit nonprofits that The Service Corps has assisted as part of its five-year, $150 million commitment to the Motor City.
Since 2014, the commitment has yielded impactful results, touting participation from more than 13,500 Detroiters in workforce training programs, the creation or preservation of over 1,600 affordable housing units, and elevation of more than 5,100 businesses through financial or technical assistance.
In total, the Detroit Service Corps has contributed over $3.2 million in value to 28 nonprofits and has sent nearly 150 employees from across the world to help nonprofits in need.
Returning to the Motor City
In 2018, Raika returned to Detroit to visit his old friends at MCR for their 20th anniversary. He learned that MCR implemented and is seeing value in the recommendations that his team had provided two years earlier.
“They’re no longer in financial trouble, they’ve been hiring people, and they’re financially solvent,” he said. “They are really doing great things for the community. For me, [this work] held a new type of meaning.”
In 2019, the Detroit Service Corps returned to MCR to help the organization develop a resiliency plan for their upcoming office move, as well as conduct a feasibility study of a nonprofit co-working space.
Dobbs said the impact JPMorgan Chase employees have left on MCR is profound: “We would not look the way we do today without the help of the JPMorgan Chase Service Corps. [JPMorgan Chase employees] fundamentally have changed the way we think in this organization.”