News and analysis
February 06, 2015

JPMorgan Chase Pledges $10-Million to Study Its Philanthropic Impact

JPMorgan Chase & Company is spending $10-million to answer a big question: Is its corporate giving making a difference?

The financial-services giant expects to commit $1-billion to philanthropy over the next five years and will pay the Urban Institute $10-million during that time to measure efforts that include a $250-million job-skills development program and a $100-million project to help revitalize the City of Detroit.

"We believe corporate responsibility includes a commitment to impact, measurement, and accountability, and this partnership helps reinforce those goals," said Peter Scher, head of corporate responsibility at JPMorgan Chase in a statement.

The nonprofit will draw upon the advice of experts in housing finance, work-force development, and other social issues to develop new approaches JPMorgan can use in its philanthropy and identify potential challenges that could stand in the way of success.

"When an investor is willing to draw from evidence in making decisions, when they’re willing to take that honest look at their work, it’s going to lead to more effective policies and programs and better outcomes in communities," said Margery Turner, Urban Institute’s senior vice president for program planning.

Growing Trend

Last year, more corporations attempted to measure the impact of their contributions, according to a survey of 84 companies conducted by the Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals. The survey found that 60 percent of companies planned to increase their measurement efforts this year, a 14-percent increase over a similar study conducted in 2013.

While Ms. Turner said the institute would probably provide advice to the bank in private meetings, the goal of the partnership is to hold public meetings and to share findings with others.

"This research is being done to broadly strengthen the field," she said.

Send an e-mail to Alex Daniels.