In celebration of Black History Month, we sat down with Jerry Johnson, Vice President and Community Manager for JPMorgan Chase in Milwaukee to discuss what Black History Month means to him, how the company is advancing racial equity, and Jerry’s goals for 2023.
1) What does Black History Month mean to you and how are you celebrating?
Black History Month is a time for both reflection and celebration across communities; a time where we honor the history, legacy and contributions of Black Americans to our society. This month I’m doubling down on my mission to evolve community banking into community revitalization by hosting financial literacy workshops and homebuying seminars that are tailored to Milwaukee’s Black community. But the work doesn’t stop there – every day I’m collaborating with community partners, policymakers, customers, and employees to reach new residents.
This month is about more than Black History – it’s about Black joy, Black leadership, uplifting Black-owned brands and businesses, and so much more.
2) How is JPMorgan Chase making an impact to advance racial equity?
Diversity, equality and inclusion have been an important part of the culture at JPMorgan Chase and we wanted to take a look at what else we can be doing. While our work to advance racial equity has been longstanding, in October 2020, we made a $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity that took a look at additional ways to address affordable housing, small business, financial health, among other critical financial needs within unbanked and underbanked communities.
We’ve opened 14 Community Center branches – locally-inspired and built with extra space to host free community events and financial health workshops – across the country and hired nearly 150 Community Managers. As part of the commitment, here in Wisconsin, we’ve hired two Community Managers, including myself, who connect community members with the many resources we’ve created to support financial health education, first-time homebuyer education, and many other resources.
Additionally, Chase Home Lending Advisors are available across the U.S. –whether you want to click, call or visit in-branch – to help you prepare for homeownership, including identifying the right financing solutions and any down payment/housing assistance available.
We’re invested in making an impact in Wisconsin and committed to supporting underserved communities, helping them reach their financial goals.
3) How should other companies and individuals be thinking about advancing racial equity?
We can all make an effort to help advance racial equity within our community – including by investing in or shopping with local diverse-owned businesses, supporting philanthropic efforts in our community, and participating in community events.
Consider looking for diverse initiatives and business resource groups within your company that focus on supporting underserved or underrepresented communities, and asking if there are opportunities to support those initiatives or groups. For instance, JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Black Pathways initiative works to support the economic empowerment of the Black community globally. Through our Global Supplier Diversity program we’re using our purchasing power to build economic equity in diverse communities, foster the success of underrepresented business owners, and promote equity, inclusion and sustainability across the wider business community. We also have initiatives focused on other communities, and business resource groups that share our company commitment to equity and equality and create opportunities for employees to be engaged.
4) What are your goals for this year, and/or, what are you looking forward to in 2023?
I started at JPMorgan Chase in 2021. Since then, we’ve grown our footprint, nurtured new partnerships, and expanded our capacity here in Milwaukee. This year we’re hitting the ground running to help improve the financial health of the community in which we serve, and provide them with the exceptional service, tools and resources needed to achieve success.
Whether it’s a financial health workshop or a home lending series, my goal is to share our resources with as many residents as possible and encourage them to step into their local Chase branch for free resources. If you can dream it, we can help you get there.
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