By Megan Sayles,
AFRO Business Writer,

JPMorgan Chase and the Center for Nonprofit Advancement are working together to support Black women-led nonprofits in D.C. The firm, on March 9, awarded the nonprofit organization $350,000 in philanthropic funding to provide $25,000 grants to eight Black women with nonprofits located in Wards 7 and 8.

Aside from capital, the eight women also received access to a 12-month capacity building program. 

“JP Morgan Chase has been working with the Center for Nonprofit Advancement for the last three years. We’ve heard great things about the work they’ve been doing in the region for at least three decades,” said Shae Harris, mid-Atlantic region director of corporate responsibility for JPMorgan Chase.

“As we really thought about our racial equity commitment and how we’re showing up in the market, it was essential to find a nonprofit that was Black- or Brown-led. [A nonprofit with] deep relationships in the community and a willingness to support the capacity-building that we knew was necessary East of the river.” 

Established in 1979, the Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s central goal is to strengthen, support and promote nonprofits throughout the D.C. area. 

Its four pillars of work include capacity building and training, spurring collaboration between nonprofits, local and federal political advocacy and managing administrative services for nonprofit organizations in need. 

“It was really validating for a large corporation like JPMorgan Chase to see the problem happening in the community and to be willing to put resources where their thoughts and their conversations have been,” said Glen O’Gilvie, CEO of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement. 

“I think it sets the mark and a trend that we hope other entities will follow and that we hope opens up new doors for Black-led organizations.” 

JPMorgan Chase and the Center for Nonprofit Advancement intentionally chose to target nonprofits that are situated East of the Anacostia River in Wards 7 and 8 because communities there–which are primarily Black– face chronic disinvestment and poverty. 

According to O’Gilvie, these nonprofits experienced significant hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“These two communities always have the highest level of challenge whether it be education, crime or health, so it was important to maintain the support from critical organizations that are places and spaces where no one else, in some cases, is providing support,” said O’Gilvie. 

The grant recipients included Children’s Legacy Theatre, Congress Heights Arts and Culture Center, Fihankra Akoma Ntoaso (FAN), Guns Down Friday, Momma’s Safe Haven, the Safe Sisters Circle, Women Involved in Reentry Efforts (WIRE) and WANDA: Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture. 

Through their 12-month capacity-building program, the women leaders will receive an organizational assessment, customized technical assistance, health and wellness support, leadership development and executive coaching. 

They will also have access to classes focused on topics, like social media marketing, organizational resilience and financial management. 

Jawanna Hardy, founder of Guns Down Friday, said she is most excited about the capacity-building program. Her organization provides resources to community members affected by youth homicide, suicide and mental health disparities. 

“Doing the work is easy, it comes naturally. I grew up in the same environment as the kids we serve. It’s the logistics that makes the job difficult,” said Hardy. 

She will use the $25,000 to support Guns Down Friday’s summer programming, which includes one-on-one mentorship to youth who have been shot or stabbed and training that equips residents to help in a bleeding emergency before first responders arrive. 

Keyonna Jones, founder and executive director of Congress Heights Arts and Culture Center, plans to use the money to support general operating expenses and renovations. 

The Southeast D.C. native’s organization serves as an art gallery for Black and Brown artists, and it offers workshops and rental space to local artists, residents and entrepreneurs. 

She said she was excited about JPMorgan Chase and the Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s intentionality around supporting Black women because she believes they are the backbone of the Black community.  

“I’m a Black woman, I’m a native of Southeast and I’m a one woman band,” said Jones. “Everything that they’re offering is what I’m looking for–building capacity, wellness and the balance of work and health.”

Megan Sayles is a Report for America Corps member.