Catalyzing Action, Building Thriving Communities

November 18, 2016  • Naomi Camper, JPMorgan Chase Office of Nonprofit Engagement

naomi camper jpmcWe know the vital role that nonprofits play in building strong communities. They provide critical services to underserved communities every day and lay the foundation for inclusive economic growth and mobility. As needs continue to grow, nonprofits face financial uncertainty for programmatic support while already under-resourced for operational support.

While there is growing awareness of the importance of investing in nonprofit resiliency, the need continues to outpace the supply. A 2015 survey by the Nonprofit Finance Fund found that 53 percent of nonprofits reported having three months or less of cash on hand. Public and private funding to nonprofits is usually dedicated to specific programs within an organization instead of their operations, which can create challenges and additional strain on operational functions. Further, short-term grants often fail to provide nonprofits with the critical support to strengthen their core systems.

The lack of flexible funding is just one part of the challenge. A survey commissioned by JPMorgan Chase in 2015 and conducted by The Bridgespan Group found that—in addition to fundraising—nonprofits reported needing the most help in the following areas: communications and marketing; program evaluation; performance management; technology; and strategic planning. Such operational challenges hinder organizations’ ability to meet their goals in sustaining their successful programs and growing over time.

At JPMorgan Chase, we are committed to utilizing these insights and are working with our partners to identify strategic opportunities to make an impact in these areas. We know the business community is uniquely positioned to make a profound impact in addressing such challenges and creating stronger nonprofits by leveraging its full range of capabilities–including technical assistance, board governance and skilled employee volunteerism.

In addition to providing critical financial support, the business community can convene local organizations to identify common challenges and explore solutions. Further, the private sector can leverage its reach to foster connections between nonprofits and local civic and business leaders to ensure the sector is included in policy-making decisions.

With this in mind, JPMorgan Chase and the Aspen Institute Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation hosted a business forum this week to galvanize greater support for the nonprofit sector. The forum served as a call to action for the business community to explore ways the private sector can use its financial resources, convening power and technical expertise to advance the nonprofit sector and strengthen communities.

At the event, JPMorgan Chase announced $400,000 in nationwide grants to nonprofit capacity building organizations to turn these insights into action and help nonprofit organizations succeed. Over 100 leaders from the business, philanthropic and government sectors gathered to share promising and proven strategies, models and resources to create a robust nonprofit ecosystem and identify opportunities for cross sector collaboration to maximize our impact in this area.

It is important that we leverage such platforms to discuss challenges and exchange ideas on how we can bring our unique capabilities to the table to help ensure that nonprofits not only keep pace with the needs of the community but evolve to build more vibrant, thriving and resilient communities across our nation.