JPMorgan Chase — as part of its global initiative to help support underserved households during COVID-19 — is making a $375,000 investment to help kick-start the Greater Newark Enterprises Corp. Entrepreneurs of Color COVID-19 Relief Fund.
The fund provides much-needed access to capital to underserved communities by providing low-interest loans to Black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian small businesses in need, the firm said. (Businesses can apply here.)
Newark was one of just 17 cities nationally to be specifically designated, according to Alma DeMetropolis, the New Jersey market leader for JPMorgan Chase.
“Small businesses are the backbone of Newark’s economy, providing needed jobs, services and opportunity to residents throughout the city,” DeMetropolis told ROI-NJ. “Thanks to the firm’s investment, Greater Newark Enterprises Corp. will have the tools they need to support small businesses, particularly those that have experienced generational disinvestment during the pandemic.”
Companies need to have fewer than 20 employees and have less than $1 million in revenues. The loans can be for a maximum $75,000, but DeMetropolis said JPMorgan Chase expects the average loan size to be $20,000-$30,000.
“The program is designed to help these business owners get the funds needed to stabilize and begin the road to recovery, but also receive hands-on financial coaching,” DeMetropolis said. “GNEC has been serving this community for 15 years, and we are proud to grow our partnership with them to better serve the residents of Newark.”
DeMetropolis said the effort is part of a commitment from JPMorgan Chase to deploy $35 million in new philanthropic investments to help with immediate relief and to support an inclusive recovery with a focus on supporting vulnerable, hard-hit individuals who have lost their jobs and experienced reduced income and small businesses facing closures.
JPMorgan said it intends to help underserved communities in a variety of ways, including:
- Access to capital: Providing underserved small businesses with access to capital and technical assistance in order to make best use of digital platforms to continue their commercial activity and access government aid programs;
- Financial health: Helping individuals and small business owners address their immediate financial needs, navigate public benefits and manage their finances;
- Neighborhood development: Supporting affordable housing providers through flexible capital and technical assistance to stabilize cost-burdened households and provide essential resident services;
- Jobs and skills: Providing access to job training opportunities for workers to better navigate the job market and helping community college students access critical resources to continue their studies; and
- Strengthening nonprofits: Providing local nonprofits that are responding to the crisis with critical capital to continue to serve vulnerable communities and maximize their impact.
The help appears to be needed.
According to the JPMorgan Chase Institute, 65% of families don’t have the cash buffer to weather a simultaneous income dip and spike in expenditure like the one resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. And the median Black and Hispanic families earn roughly 70 cents in take-home income for every dollar earned by white families. Racial gaps in liquid assets are twice as large.
Karen Keogh, head of global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase, said the pandemic is threatening to further widen the opportunity gap for low-income households and communities of color.
“At JPMorgan Chase, we are building on our past philanthropic work and data-driven insight to lift up communities in-need, collaborating with local government, businesses and community organizations, and using our business expertise to address the impact of this crisis for people, families and small businesses who have been hit the hardest,” she said.