$15K investment. $110K return. Increase Capacity. Repeat as desired.

When a foundation can leverage impact with each philanthropic investment, grant dollars go a lot further. When that investment then proves to be building capacity, repeatable, and applicable across grantee portfolios, you know you’re on to something. 

Spanish Coalition for Housing is a Chicago-based nonprofit and grantee of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation (JPMorgan Chase) that provides comprehensive supportive services to Latinos and other underserved populations. In 2013, JPMorgan Chase provided a $125,000 grant to Spanish Coalition for Housing. To complement this financial assistance, JPMorgan Chase also supported the Taproot Foundation with a $15,000 grant to provide Spanish Coalition for Housing with marketing support from a team of screened and qualified business professionals willing to donate their time and skills at no financial cost, or “pro bono.”

But why would nonprofits like Spanish Coalition for Housing need pro bono services? Many nonprofits tackling social problems do not have access to the capacity building resources that they need to operate effectively; they invest the majority of their financial resources into their programs, meaning there is often little funding leftover to invest in key areas of operations like marketing, HR, IT, and strategy. Without the infrastructure to support their work, nonprofits struggle to target and bring in new clients, manage and reward their staff, connect to the technology they need, and develop strategy for future growth. Pro bono provides a cost-free and effective avenue to access these important resources – enabling nonprofits to not only operate more efficiently, but also to more effectively and strategically work toward their mission.

Spanish Coalition for Housing’s team of pro bono marketing professionals was recruited and managed through the Taproot Foundation’s Service Grant program. The team delivered an updated messaging strategy to help the Coalition reach new constituents. From a 30-second “elevator pitch” through detailed language for their board, clients, and site managers, the Coalition was better equipped to represent their services and received professional, high-quality marketing support for free. Building on this momentum and with the continued support from JPMorgan Chase, The Coalition then worked with a second team of professionals. This time, a photographer and strategy analyst were added to the team of marketing experts to produce and publish an annual report, a key piece of collateral used extensively for fundraising and relationship development, leveraging more than $110,000 in pro bono marketing support at zero financial cost to the Coalition.

"The Annual Report provided an opportunity of learning for our organization. During the process, we collected client stories, which the staff wasn't accustomed to. After creating the stories with the Taproot team, we leveraged it for a newsletter and the staff loved it. We received a fabulous new Annual Report with the support provided by JPMorgan Chase to build our capacity. We couldn't have done it without their support of Taproot’s Service Grant program."

--Gabriela Roman, Interim Executive Director, Spanish Coalition for Housing

How did this work? JPMorgan Chase provided grant funding to the Taproot Foundation. With that support, Taproot Foundation secured and managed a team of experienced professionals – in this case, employees of KPMG, Devry Education, and Yahoo! among others – to work with service grant recipient Spanish Coalition for Housing to restructure the way they talk about their services. Spanish Coalition for Housing then had new messaging, a professional annual report, and valuable learnings from working with professionals with expertise they did not readily have on staff. Working 1:1 with consultants to support business operations is an opportunity most organizations don’t usually get to take advantage of.

JPMorgan Chase sees pro bono service as a way to connect its large pool of nonprofit grantees to expanded resources that would develop infrastructure, from projects such as a new website, staffing plan, financial analysis, or support around strategic planning.

JPMorgan Chase has been supporting this work since 2009.  Beyond delivering tangible resources to grantees of JPMorgan Chase, the market value of their grants has been multiplied significantly: with a collective investment of $380,000 since 2009, JPMorgan Chase has leveraged more than $2.6 million in pro bono resources to 41 local nonprofit organizations through the Taproot Foundation – more than six times the dollar value of the grants. These capacity building Service Grants have enabled JPMorgan Chase grantees to operate more effectively and to better understand their internal challenges, all while continuing to work towards their missions.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. uses its global reach and relationships for good, creating positive impact throughout the world with a focus on local charities. JPMorgan Chase has donated more than $210 million in grants and its employees have rolled up their sleeves and donated over 540,000 hours of service to deserving nonprofits, more than 60,000 of which were skills-based or pro bono hours. Focusing on nonprofits that support affordable housing, economic growth, workforce readiness, and financial capability, JPMorgan Chase provides assistance to help local communities address social and economic issues that they face on a daily basis.

Founded in 2001, the Taproot Foundation's mission is to lead, mobilize, and engage professionals in pro bono service that drives social change. Taproot addresses a critical issue in the nonprofit sector: most organizations tackling social problems do not have access to the marketing, design, technology, management, or strategic planning tools they need to thrive. Since 2001, Taproot has delivered over $130 million in pro bono resources to nonprofits – connecting nonprofits across the country to the capacity building support they need to thrive. Unique in its programming and recognized for providing quality support to dynamic organizations, Taproot strives to position nonprofits to address the environmental, economic, health, and social issues faced by society.