Contact: Salli Martyniak, (608) 257-3863
Appleton, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Madison and Racine will serve as hub cities for the program
Invest in Wisconsin, a collaborative of four Wisconsin-based community development financial institutions (CDFIs), has been awarded a $2.68 million grant by JPMorgan Chase & Co. The grant, part of the foundation’s PRO Neighborhoods (Partnerships for Raising Opportunity in Neighborhoods) initiative, will enable Invest in Wisconsin to promote economic opportunity and reduce disparities in five Wisconsin hub cities and the rural areas that surround them: Appleton, Eau Claire, Green Bay, Madison, and Racine. These hub cities are important because they serve as pivots for the adjacent rural communities.
JPMorgan Chase’s PRO Neighborhoods (Partnerships for Raising Opportunity in Neighborhoods), is designed to give CDFIs the flexibility to work together on community challenges in their city or region and develop innovative financing options for projects that are unable to qualify for traditional loans. The program consists of more than $14 million in grants to five programs nationwide that are dedicated to creating innovative and sustainable solutions to significant economic challenges in our communities.
“The challenges facing our communities require solutions tailored to their specific needs,” said Jim Popp, president of Chase in Wisconsin/Minnesota. “By collaborating and leveraging each other’s greatest assets -capital, talent and technology – Invest in Wisconsin is developing inclusive growth strategies statewide that connect Wisconsin families, entrepreneurs, and distressed communities to greater economic opportunities and prosperity.”
The four Wisconsin CDFIs that make up Invest in Wisconsin are:
Community Assets for People, LLC (CAfP), the lending arm of CAP Services, Inc. a community action agency transforming people and communities in central and east central Wisconsin through more than 30 programs designed to create a permanent increase in the ability of people to become self-sufficient;
First American Capital Corporation (FACC), a sister agency of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, which provides access to financial resources and technical assistance to Native American entrepreneurs and businesses;
Forward Community Investments (FCI), an investor, connector, and advisor that supports organizations and initiatives working to reduce social, racial, and economic disparities across Wisconsin. FCI will serve as the lead agency for administrative purposes; and
Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), which provides quality business and financial education coupled with access to fair capital and financial products for entrepreneurs.
“We’re grateful to the JPMorgan Chase Foundation for recognizing the challenges communities across Wisconsin are facing, and providing us with the resources to spur development and address economic inequality in the target communities,” said Salli Martyniak, president of Forward Community Investments.
In addition to providing capital to invest in businesses and nonprofits in the target areas, the grant will help grow the capacity of the individual member CDFIs, and provide resources that will enable them to collaborate more effectively in order to achieve greater community impact.
In seeking the grant, Invest in Wisconsin identified four key barriers to economic development in Wisconsin’s rural communities:
Rural communities lag behind urban counterparts in small business development.
Reaching out to rural communities requires a different strategy from that used in urban counties.
Access to capital remains an impediment to rural small business development.
Disparities, whether economic, social, or racial, are especially pronounced in rural communities.
Strategies for addressing these challenges will include engaging community stakeholders, attracting new capital from investors across the state, and fine-tuning loan products and technical assistance services.
“These resources will allow us to learn from stakeholders what the main obstacles to development are in their community, and in response develop the financial tools they need to begin breaking down those obstacles,” said WWBIC President Wendy Baumann.
PRO Neighborhoods builds on the early success of JPMorgan Chase’s CDFI Collaborative Demonstration Program, which supported seven collaboratives with $33 million in grants for low-income communities and small businesses. After conducting an impact assessment on this work, the Harvard Joint Center on Housing Studies has found that the initial $33 million in support has allowed CDFIs to raise an additional $226 million to support their projects, or almost seven times the original amount.
“Investing in collaboratives is a very effective way for the foundation to target their resources,” said Craig Anderson, executive director of FACC. “This grant will enable us to leverage the individual strengths of each CDFI and maximize our collective impact across the state.”
Each of the CDFIs in Invest in Wisconsin has a strong track record of expanding opportunity and addressing disparities in Wisconsin through a variety strategies, including small business loans, financing for nonprofits to develop low-income housing and other facilities, assistance for lower-income residents to buy or rehabilitate a home, and more.
“Rural communities face a unique set of economic challenges in Wisconsin,” said CAfP President Mary Patoka. “We can’t solve these problems overnight, but thanks to the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, we can begin addressing disparities and getting our communities on the right path to social and economic health.”
About JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Wisconsin
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.4 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. In Wisconsin, JPMorgan Chase serves many of the states’ most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. It also serves over 1.1 million consumers and small businesses in the state through 79 branches and nearly 170 ATMs, while providing more than $1.6 million annually to Wisconsin charities. The firm uses its global resources, expertise, insights and scale to address some of the most urgent challenges facing communities around the world including the need for increased economic opportunity. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.