Q&A with JPMorgan Chase’s Jason Patton
In celebration of Black History Month, we sat down with Jason Patton at JPMorgan Chase to discuss what Black History Month means to him, how the firm is advancing racial equity and how is team is working to make a difference in New York.
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.
With my children, we research and discuss the achievements of Black people who have made significant advancements in their field. We will pick an industry like farming or aeronautics, learn about it together and talk about how that person made a difference. This year, they chose space exploration and we’re learning about the accomplishments of ‘Hidden Figure’ Katherine Goble Johnson and her contributions to NASA during the Space Race.
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.
The firm’s first ever Community Center branch and Community Manager began in Harlem in 2019. Since that time and as part of our commitment to New York, we’ve hired 28 from Flatbush to the South Bronx to Mt. Vernon and Rochester. These leaders connect community members with the many free resources we’ve created to support financial health education, first-time homebuyer education, and many other resources.
We’re invested in making an impact in New York, throughout the city and around the state, and are committed to supporting underserved communities, helping them reach their financial goals.
How should other companies and individuals be thinking about advancing racial equity?
We all can 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.