By Ryan Velez
We recently wrote about a number of major businesses that both came out against the recent violence in Charlottesville and Donald Trump’s response, backing their words with donations to groups working against racism. We can now add another major name to the list, as Black Enterprise reports that JP Morgan Chase is donating $2 million to organizations that fight hate and intolerance.
This initial donation will be divided between the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League. Next month, a two-for-one employee donation match up to $1 million will also be given to various social justice and civil rights organizations. CEO Jamie Dimon also offered strong words against Trump’s response.
“I strongly disagree with President Trump’s reaction to the events that took place in Charlottesville over the past several days. Racism, intolerance and violence are always wrong. It is a leader’s role, in business or government, to bring people together, not tear them apart.”
Equally strong were the words offered in a letter by Peter Scher, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Chairman at JP Morgan. A memo he sent announcing the donations reads as follows:
“The events in Charlottesville have increased the urgency to confront hate, intolerance and discrimination wherever it exists. While there are no simple answers, it is vital that we recommit ourselves to the principles of equality, respect and acceptance. The JPMorgan Chase community stands in support of all of those who reject racism and violence, and we must strive to create positive change from these dark events.
As Jamie stated in his message last week, we immediately engaged with our community and nonprofit partners to identify the appropriate way to be part of the healing in Charlottesville. We will provide $50,000 to support the work of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation to assist in their immediate and longer-term reconciliation efforts.
It is clear, however, that the events of the past week reflect deep divisions across our country and compel us to redouble our efforts. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” But it will not bend on its own.
So today, JPMorgan Chase is pledging $1 million, to be split between the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to further their work in tracking, exposing and fighting hate groups and other extremist organizations across the country. These organizations were born in different eras – the ADL in 1913 to confront anti-Semitism and the SPLC in the 1960s in response to enduring injustice to African Americans – and both have evolved over the decades into the nation’s preeminent institutions fighting extremism and discrimination of all kinds.
While these steps were prompted by recent events, I want to emphasize that the focus of our longstanding philanthropic work around the world is to address inequality by boosting economic opportunity for those who have been left behind. We invest nearly $250 million annually in programs to support workforce readiness, access to capital for minority small business owners, summer jobs for underprivileged young people, financial tools to help low-income families, and nonprofits working to address the racial wealth divide. We remain deeply committed to these efforts.
In the last few days, we have been inspired that so many of you want to be part of the response. In September, we will launch a special campaign to match two-for-one our employees’ donations to a wide range of human and civil rights organizations, up to an additional $1 million. We will work with our Business Resource Groups and other internal stakeholders to identify respected organizations that fight many kinds of discrimination in our diverse society.
The dedication, commitment and compassion of the JPMorgan Chase community are extraordinary. As Elie Wiesel said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” We won’t be indifferent to the forces that would tear our country apart. The ties that bind us are too strong.”