We are devoted to building and maintaining the best and most respected
financial services company in the world, serving our clients and growing
our communities globally.
To do this, we must continue to deliver superior long-term value to our
shareholders. Only by building and maintaining a healthy and vibrant
company can we invest for the long run and thrive in both good and bad
times. A bank can’t be a fair weather friend. We must be unquestionably
safe and sound — both for our businesses and for our clients — and we
must invest in our great and diverse group of employees, who make
it all possible. Finally, we will be a good corporate citizen wherever we
operate. Our success will let us continuously help build economies and
communities around the globe.
Certain principles are fundamental to our success. They focus on how we
strengthen, safeguard and grow our company over time. Adhering to each
of these principles is how we will become the best and most respected
bank in the world. We cannot promise specific outcomes or risk-free results.
From time to time, we may fall short in our efforts, and if that happens,
we will renew our commitment to these principles and re-double our
efforts. What we can and will promise is to be truthful and give honest
assessments of our businesses and prospects; act with integrity and
honor; and do the right thing — not necessarily the easy or expedient
thing. We will work with fierce resolve to make this a company of which
our customers, employees, shareholders and communities can
continue to be proud.
For more than two centuries, JPMorgan Chase has always been there for
our constituents around the world. In the toughest of times when strong
banks are needed the most, we never waver in our support, and we never
lose sight of our main mission: serving our clients. Our job is to always
do right by them and consistently strive not only to meet their needs but
also to exceed their expectations and continually make it easy for clients
to do business with us.
As much as any company on the planet, we are helping individuals,
businesses of all sizes, governments, nonprofits and communities seize
the opportunities of our times. We can do this because of the strong
company we have built — global in reach, local in execution, with an
impressive set of products and capabilities and a steadfast commitment
to provide exceptional client service.
As important as strategy is, we have to execute to win. Execution involves
every employee and every contact we have with customers. The devil
is in the details. We must act quickly on problems; drive results,
not just activities; and ensure detailed follow-up so that we meet
In business, as in every other arena, ethical behavior does not just
happen. It has to be cultivated and repeatedly affirmed throughout the
organization. At JPMorgan Chase, acting with integrity is paramount —
and it applies to every aspect of our company. Maintaining the highest
standards of integrity involves faithfully meeting our commitments to
all our constituents — customers, communities, employees, the Board,
shareholders, regulators — and to ourselves.
To D.C. locals, the Anacostia River represents both a physical and metaphorical dividing line between the city’s haves and have-nots. To the west of the river sits the Capitol Building, the epicenter of American politics, surrounded by affluent neighborhoods where less than a quarter of the residents are black, household annual incomes average about $140,000, and around half of the residents are homeowners, despite the high median home price of $777,000. Not surprisingly, unemployment is low in these neighborhoods, as are rates of childhood poverty.
Compare that to the Anacostia neighborhood east of the river. There, 92 percent of the residents are black, annual incomes average $48,000, and less than one-fourth of the residents are homeowners despite a more affordable median home price of $329,500. In Anacostia and surrounding communities, roughly 16 percent of residents are unemployed, and 50 percent of children live in poverty.
One nonprofit, Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR), developed a plan to help bridge the divide: an elevated park to connect communities on both sides of the river. The park, scheduled to open in 2025, will serve as a common space for recreation, arts, and culture. Beyond connecting east and west, BBAR’s plan creates opportunities to prevent resident displacement, improve neighborhood conditions and promote resident-owned small businesses.
The $90 million project needed support and JPMorgan Chase was in a unique position to help from the very beginning. In 2017, the bank made an initial investment of $25 million in Greater Washington, significantly impacting Anacostia and other parts of Wards 7 and 8. Of that, $5 million was awarded to support BBAR and a Washington, D.C.-based collaborative of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to support access to capital and technical assistance for minority- and locally-owned small businesses, construction training to local residents for work on the 11th Street Bridge Park and other forthcoming developments and the preservation of affordable housing with the Douglass Community Land Trust.
“What we have seen time and again is that collaborative partnerships are a really effective way to leverage community investments,” says Dekonti Mends-Cole, vice president of global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. “It’s clichéd, and yet also true, that they can create a sum so much greater than the whole of the parts.”
BBAR had the bank’s backing, but before getting off the ground, they needed community buy-in.
“Before we engaged an architect, an engineer, or anyone like that to design the 11th Street Bridge park, we spent two years going out and talking to the community,” says Scott Kratz, director of the project. “We had more than 200 meetings with faith leaders, community leaders, local business owners and government officials to make sure we understood the residents’ needs. We wanted to make sure we addressed those needs before we start building instead of trying to insert it later as an afterthought.”
Why D.C. and Why Now?
Washington, D.C. is one of the nation’s fastest growing cities, with a population that is increasing by more than a thousand people per month thanks to the city’s bevy of political and professional jobs. As the city has grown, so too has its economic inequality, which breaks down along racial lines.
City newcomers who cannot afford to live west of the river are heading east, bringing with them a wave of gentrification that increased home prices in Anacostia by 70 percent from 2010 to 2015. In response, more than two dozen new real estate developments are slated to come online east of the river in the next few years, raising concerns that residents who have lived in Wards 7 and 8 for generations will be priced out of their homes.
Through intentional and integrated investment, philanthropy and policy, JPMorgan Chase is focused on closing the racial wealth divide today — and for generations to come.