JPMorgan Chase renewed its commitment to The Fellowship Initiative (TFI) which aims to help Black and Latinx men, as well as other young men of color, from low-income communities. TFI will triple the number of young people it serves to more than 1,000 over ten years and expand across several U.S. cities. Eric Williams, a 2014 fellow tells us how the program helped him think outside the box and how he can make a difference in his community.
ERIC WILLIAMS: I believe that I have a lifelong connection with my brothers, with the partnership that I made, with the connections that I made in JPMorgan Chase.
SIBILE MARCELLUS: Eric Williams, born and raised on the south side of Chicago, is currently a junior majoring in Exercise Science at Eastern Illinois University. Williams was selected to be a part of JPMorgan Chase’s The Fellowship Initiative six years ago. This program aims to improve the social and economic outcomes of young men like Eric, who come from low-income communities. Linda Rodriguez, who currently runs the program, has known Williams for years.
LINDA RODRIGUEZ: When Eric was accepted into the program, he was at the end of his freshman year of high school. And we selected Eric because he showed the potential to be amazing, and to finish the program, and to participate in all of the elements of it.
SIBILE MARCELLUS: Speaking at a virtual TFI commencement ceremony, JPMorgan Chase’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, said his firm is committed to addressing the economic challenges young black men face by investing in TFI and other initiatives, such as affordable housing programs.
JAMIE DIMON: This is structural. This has been going on since the Civil War and for 250 years before that. And, you know, society is going to acknowledge the structural, acknowledge the damage it does to– that it does to the– to the minority community, and then do something about it.
SIBILE MARCELLUS: JPMorgan Chase renewed its commitment to TFI last week, and looks to triple the number of Fellows. The goal, to reach 1,000 young men of color in cities across the US in the next 10 years. Rodriguez described the support the program provides the young men who take part.
LINDA RODRIGUEZ: We recruit high school students for a three-year intensive program that includes a wide range of academic supports, leadership development, mentoring, social, emotional support, and really unique learning experiences.
ERIC WILLIAMS: They helped us with, like I said, with homework. And they also made us think outside the box. So like we also had our homework from school, but then we was assigned homework at TFI as well. So like it was– it was a– I wouldn’t say it was a challenge.
Honestly, I would say it benefited me because it just made me think. It made me, just, I guess, explore the best of me. So and like I said, I believe I joined TFI just because I wanted to make a difference in my community.
SIBILE MARCELLUS: For Yahoo Finance, this is Sibile Marcellus.