August 2022

JPMorgan Chase spending $1.5M to empower women of color in Columbus

Courtesy of Columbus Business First
By Hayleigh Colombo
August 17, 2022

Empowering Central Ohio women of color to come up with the solutions to their economic challenges is the focus of a new $1.5 million investment from JPMorgan Chase.

JPMorgan Chase on Wednesday announced its investment, which will involve working in partnership with Zora’s House, the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio and the Columbus College of Art & Design to create and fund an “equity design institute.”

The goal is to “leverage design thinking to shift power dynamics so that the expertise, perspective and lived experiences of women of color lead the development and implementation of innovative solutions to some of the community’s most challenging disparities,” according to a news release.

“Women of color are the backbone of our economy – as consumers, homeowners, entrepreneurs, business owners, heads of households, and so much more,” said Corrine Burger, Columbus location leader for JPMorgan Chase. “With this investment, we are eager to create an initiative that empowers more women of color to lead and design Columbus’s economic development efforts in order to help strengthen Ohio communities and create a more inclusive economy for all.”

The organization will be headquartered at Zora’s House, the Columbus coworking space and incubator for women of color.

Two cohorts of women will come together over the next two years to learn equity-centered design thinking techniques. They will then generate solutions to pressing economic challenges, such as childcare issues.

“Without women of color engaged in creating solutions, ineffective programs and policies are funded and implemented,” LC Johnson, founder of Zora’s House, said in the release. “This is a true systems-change investment that will start at the root cause of how decisions are made, and is a critical step toward designing a city that hears, responds to, and implements a vision of economic prosperity designed by those most impacted by obstacles.”

CCAD will also create a standalone certificate in equity-centered design thinking, which will be offered to the institute’s participants as well as the general public.

Eventually, the Women’s Fund hopes to back ideas generated from the institute.

Other organizations participating in the institute will be the Affordable Housing Trust, the Columbus Urban League, the Women’s Center for Economic Opportunity and YWCA Columbus.

“Allowing women of color to address the wealth barriers they face by designing economic solutions that imbed their lived experiences will help eliminate stark disparities that have existed for centuries,” Women’s Fund of Central Ohio CEO Kelley Griesmer said in the release.

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