HomeSuccess StoriesHow Skills-Based Volunteering Helps Create Economic Mobility  

How Skills-Based Volunteering Helps Create Economic Mobility  

Guided by the principle of “Do The Right Thing,” JPMorgan Chase prioritizes exceptional client service, the development of its employees, and an unwavering commitment to giving back. JPMorgan Chase is committed to connecting its employees to their communities to support inclusive economic growth in the places where they live and work. This commitment connected the firm with Hot Bread Kitchen, an organization on a mission to create economic opportunity for women and gender-expansive people, immigrants, and people of color through job skills training, food entrepreneurship programs, and an ecosystem of support in New York City. Through this collaboration, along with Common Impact, JPMorgan Chase volunteers worked to enhance the professional growth and retention of Hot Bread Kitchen’s employees. 

Empowering Hot Bread Kitchen’s Mission 

In a world where most frontline workers are immigrant women and people of color facing disproportionate barriers, a catalyst for transformation emerges: Hot Bread Kitchen. In the bustling city of New York, this organization has become a beacon of hope, dedicated to crafting economic mobility pathways.

Hot Bread Kitchen’s robust support network and programs provide the essential tools for aspiring job seekers to evolve into skilled food workers and food entrepreneurs. Since its inception in 2008, Hot Bread Kitchen has touched the lives of over 700 individuals, incubating 250 small food businesses and propelling a staggering $100 million in regional economic impact. Such achievements are a testament to their unwavering commitment to growth and community empowerment.  

As the next chapter unfolds, Hot Bread Kitchen is charting a strategic course for expansion. Acknowledging the limitations of their existing professional development programs in accommodating their growing team and boosting staff retention, the Hot Bread Kitchen leadership team sought professional expertise through pro bono consulting with JPMorgan Chase’s Service Corps in partnership with Common Impact. This collaboration enlisted the expertise of six dedicated JPMorgan Chase volunteers, who committed to a three-month team consulting project with Hot Bread Kitchen. With a shared purpose, a mission was forged – to pinpoint strategies and methodologies to strengthen employee professional growth and retention within Hot Bread Kitchen. The volunteer team evaluated HBK’s present professional development offerings, identified improvements, formulated an enhanced developmental framework, and included best practices for the program’s execution.  

Collaborative Solutions  

The volunteer team’s deep understanding of the organization and its challenges led to an expanded strategy while remaining aware of the operating environment of the nonprofit. To gather comprehensive data, the team selected interviewees from Hot Bread Kitchen’s staff across diverse demographics to represent the organization’s wide-ranging makeup. Informed by this data, the team developed templates for immediate implementation and mapped out short- and long-term objectives that would enrich the experience of current and future staff at Hot Break Kitchen.    

Feedback from Hot Bread Kitchen’s leadership conveyed their delight in the team’s engagement, thoughtfulness, and expertise, “We were so impressed by all of the thoughtful and engaged ideas, and especially that they incorporated our staff’s feedback and considered our organization’s resources. As we grow, these professional development plans and concepts will strengthen Hot Bread Kitchen’s operations. Thank you for giving Hot Bread Kitchen yet another opportunity to benefit from JPMorgan Chase’s generosity and talent,” stated Leslie Abbey, CEO. Yvette Ho, Director of People and Operations, noted the diverse expertise of the volunteer team was an asset, “I particularly appreciated the varied backgrounds and expertise of the team and the practical information and recommendations they provided. It was a worthwhile experience.”   

The volunteers also expressed their enthusiasm for the project. “I thoroughly enjoyed helping [Hot Break Kitchen]. [Their mission] hit close to home for me, and I enjoyed working with other JPMC employees I likely never would have crossed paths with,” stated a volunteer. 100% of volunteer respondents said they have a greater appreciation for the challenges communities face, and 100% stated this opportunity provided a valuable professional development experience. The volunteers’ unanimous positive feedback underscored their connection to Hot Bread Kitchen’s mission and understanding of community challenges.   

The collaboration between JPMorgan Chase and Hot Bread Kitchen is a testament to the transformative power of shared purpose between corporations and nonprofits. The outcomes reinforce the power of cross-sector partnerships and the potential for positive change they bring.