JP Morgan Chase’s Hang Ho on aiding not-for-profits
JP Morgan reveals how it is helping east London nonprofits through Service Corps
T he impact that we are really striving for is how do we use our resources to enable social and economic mobility, particularly amongst residents and communities who are underserved?” said Hang Ho, head of the JP Morgan Chase Foundation.
She runs the firm’s Service Corps in London, a global volunteer programme that marries the bank’s top performers with local nonprofit organisations.
“From the financial side we have a very long standing commitment to London to invest directly into nonprofits and charities who support people with skills development, access to jobs and support with financial health,” she said.
“Now of course the financial contribution is really, really important because without it none of this could happen.
“But I think what’s also very unique about our commitment is how we look at the broader pool of talent, skills and expertise of our people and use that asset to enhance the impact that we’re trying to reach with our financial contribution.
“In most cases the feedback that we have had from our nonprofit partners is that the human capital investment is really rare, unique and, in most cases, the kind of resources that money cannot buy.”
The Service Corps programme nominates and selects the best of the firm’s global talent – usually vice president and executive director level – and deploys them on a three-week, pro bono consultancy project.
In teams of four, they are partnered with nonprofit organisations and work with them on the ground to solve a strategic organisational challenge, which can range from management dashboard to communication and outreach strategy to origination plans to access more capital.
This year’s UK cohort, which concluded last week, saw 16 global employees working with four east London-based organisations, including MyBnk, Allia, St Giles Trust and City Gateway.
“All of the organisations across the years have to be an existing partner that the JP Morgan Chase Foundation already invests in financially,” said Hang.
“Then we look at the organisational capacity, but also the readiness to host a team of four people over a very intense three-week period.
“They also have to have a suitable challenge that people can actually solve within three weeks, where the output can be embedded into the organisational growth.”
Hang said such human capital investment was as much complementary to monetary funding as it was vital to underserved nonprofits.
She said: “If you think about nonprofit organisations, everybody’s operating very much on the shoestring because the majority of the resources are going into end beneficiaries.
“So nonprofit organisations have very, very little resources to invest in the back end of the organisations, from infrastructure to technology to HR and all the stuff that is the backbone of running an executive, efficient organisation.
“They are still classified very much as overheads, which not a lot of other funders would like their money to go towards.
“Even nonprofit organisations who have the means to invest in this, clearly their ability and resources to procure the best of the talent to look at some of these challenges will be limited by what they have in their budget.
“So for us, clearly the financial investment to make sure that they have the best services for the beneficiaries is important, but also the human capital investment through effectively the best brain and expertise in JP Morgan to help them solve some of these infrastructure organisational challenges are equally as important.”
Launched in 2013, the programme has already had far reaching effects, namely in Detroit where, alongside a commitment of $150 million, donating efficiency via the Service Corps has been instrumental in the healing of a broken city.
From one cohort in its pilot year, the programme has grown to deploy six teams this year across London, Detroit, Chicago, New York and, new for 2018, Paris.
“We want to do this properly,” said Hang. “Whether or not it’s our financial investment or through Service Corps human capital investment, we’re in it for the long term.”
Hang Ho, who runs the Service Corps programme at JP Morgan