Why the health of our cities is important for everyone

By 2050, there will be 2.5 billion more people living in cities than there are today.

In this increasingly urban world, cities have become the center of society’s most pressing economic, social and environmental challenges. They also offer the greatest potential to drive growth and opportunity, large-scale innovation and sustainable solutions. The future of humanity, in large part, will be a story written by cities.

JPMorgan Chase has a long-standing commitment to working with and investing in cities. Our global business has given us insights into the challenges cities are facing and the solutions that are working. Every day, we apply that expertise on behalf of the clients and communities we serve. We view this as central to our firm’s mission, and it has become a primary focus of our corporate responsibility efforts.

We are focusing our efforts in the areas where city leaders have told us they most need help: preparing them to compete more effectively in the global economy; aligning workforce training with the skills that employers need and providing much needed data to strengthen cities’ workforce systems; and helping create thriving small business sectors centered around high-growth industries. In Detroit, an iconic American city, we are bringing together a full range of business and philanthropic efforts through our most comprehensive initiative to date.

In 2014, we committed $100 million over five years to accelerate and expand innovative efforts to revitalize the city’s economy. We are supporting entrepreneurs and are helping small businesses get off the ground. We are investing in community development and are creating new models to tackle blight.

We are helping prepare Detroit residents to compete for middle-skill jobs. As in all our efforts, we know that the contribution we can make goes beyond money. Our people have significant expertise and capabilities to offer so we created our own Detroit Service Corps to send top JPMorgan Chase managers from around the world to Detroit to work with local nonprofits. It’s a model we intend to replicate and expand in the coming years.

Underpinning all of these efforts is the belief that achieving meaningful impact requires a commitment to measurement and accountability. To improve the effectiveness of our work, in early 2015, we announced a $10 million, five-year partnership with the Urban Institute – a nonprofit research organization well known for its policy and evaluation expertise. The goal is to inform and assess the impact of our work in Detroit and in our other major philanthropic initiatives, and to produce independent research to advance solutions broadly.

We are investing in these efforts not only because it makes good business sense – if the cities and communities we serve are thriving, our company will thrive – but also because we believe the private sector needs to do its part. Today’s global challenges require collaborative solutions. We are committed to doing our part by bringing our firm’s expertise and resources to bear to help cities around the world realize their potential as engines of growth and shared prosperity.

Learn more about our $100MM investment in Detroit.