JPMorgan Chase Commits $5M to Blue-Green Infrastructure in N.O.
NEW ORLEANS — JPMorgan Chase has made a $5 million commitment to help “ensure the resiliency and success of New Orleans neighborhoods and those who call them home,” according to a release from New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
As one of seven winning cities selected by JPMorgan Chase for its AdvancingCities Challenge, New Orleans is making an investment into blue-green infrastructure, providing pathways to new career opportunities for residents and contract opportunities for local small businesses in the water economy.
Blue-green infrastructure is an industry approach to urban flood resilience, including construction that leverages water elements, like canals, wetlands, and water management features like permeable concrete, paired with plant elements, like parks, trees, and native plants.
“As we look forward to the future of our city, it is imperative that we are intentional and innovative about our approach to complex challenges, and how that approach affects all of our people. This program is a testament to that forward-thinking approach, and I am excited at the opportunities it will bring to our city and for our people,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “We are thankful to JPMorgan Chase for this investment in our work to create a more resilient and equitable future for New Orleans.”
New Orleans is the second Louisiana city selected for the 2020 AdvancingCities Challenge. JPMorgan Chase also awarded $5 million to a Baton Rouge collaborative, bringing the total AdvancingCities investment in the state to $10 million.
“Creating equitable economic opportunity for the people of New Orleans is singularly important to the New Orleans Business Alliance,” said NOLABA President & CEO Quentin Messer, Jr. “As a community, we daily face the challenges of aging infrastructure, environmental change, and historic inequity. This first-of-its kind strategy will allow us to transform these challenges into opportunities for our city, its businesses, and its residents. We are deeply grateful to JPMorgan Chase and the full collaborative of partners joining us to make this investment in our long-term resilience.”
In the face of climate change and economic downturn due to COVID-19, this support from JPMorgan Chase is designed to allow more city residents and businesses to contribute to the city’s long-term economic recovery. The announcement also builds on JPMorgan Chase’s new $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity.
Through the support of AdvancingCities in New Orleans, NOLABA, YouthForce NOLA, and a collaborative of agencies, nonprofits, and higher education institutions will develop programs and strategies to invest in the burgeoning blue-green infrastructure industry.
Immediate opportunities are available in this industry, as the City is in the process of making multi-billion dollar investments in infrastructure projects across Orleans Parish, including the $141M HUD National Disaster Resilience Competition grant for the Gentilly Resilience District, a $2B FEMA settlement for joint road and drainage infrastructure improvements from Hurricane Katrina, and a $500M local bond for infrastructure. This also builds on the $18B from the BP Oil Spill settlement that the state is utilizing to jumpstart its 50-year, $50B Coastal Master Plan.
The grant program will include robust workforce training that prepares high school youth, opportunity youth, and adults who are people of color and people with low incomes for high-wage jobs in the city’s growing water management sector. It will also include support for small businesses, with a goal of enabling local firms, particularly those owned by people of color, to benefit from procurement opportunities in the water management sector and beyond.
Agencies engaged in the collaborative include:
- New Orleans Business Alliance
- City of New Orleans
- YouthForce NOLA
- University of New Orleans
- Delgado Community College
- Good Work Network
- NewCorp, Inc.
- Thrive New Orleans
- Urban League of Louisiana
- The Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans