Back to blog

JPMC Foundation’s Kimberly Davis: Taking Risks. Making Change. And Engaging a Whole Lot of Fans.

• Author:

The June special issue of Fast Company featured “The 100 Most Creative People in Business”. The section about JP Morgan Chase Foundation’s President, Kimberly Davis, caught my attention instantly because her story helps illustrate some of our own findings here at Media Logic about brand engagement, and similar transparency versus authenticity obstacles that we have encountered with our financial clients and observed in our recent research whitepaper.

Crowdsourcing philanthropy

The exclusively Facebook execution of  “Chase Community Giving” last year (what Kimberly refers to as crowdsourcing), also ties in well with one of our recent blog posts, Four Metrics for Determining the Value of a Facebook Fan, as it relates to avoiding the misleading measure for successful social media marketing by imposing a monetary value on Facebook fans (“To effectively use social media as a marketing tool, marketers must be able to demonstrate the value that a follower base delivers to their clients”).

I’d bet Kimberly Davis would argue that even the possibility of driving financial business in the future captured immeasurable value, not to mention the unquantifiable value of demonstrating thought leadership by diving right in – “Others have stepped into the crowdsource space,” said Davis, “but they’ve done it very gingerly. They’ve put one toe in the water. We put our whole foot and leg.”

A passion to change and engage

Davis stepped into the role of president of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation in 2006, ready to cultivate a “futurist view” of philanthropy. She’s shifted the foundation’s portfolio from broad causes to more focused contributions to education and community development, which she hopes will eventually feed the financial business. And Chase Community Giving has certainly generated plenty of brand awareness among all those Facebook voters.

It was thrilling to read about Davis’ core passion; according to Invisible Children cofounder, Laren Poole:

…She showed up at 6 a.m. and talked to every single volunteer about what they did at the organization. It was so clear that she’s the heartbeat behind the whole thing. She got it in a way that I didn’t expect. “It,” of course, is how to connect corporate philanthropy efforts with a young generation more passionate about grassroots activism…

And this passion has helped her foster a very adventurous view of the new world we find ourselves in (at age 50 to boot). It was downright inspirational to hear someone saying out loud that we should be taking risks – especially from the president where “as a firm we’re in the business of managing risk”. Davis says, “Philanthropy is where we should be taking risks, but there were a lot of questions about the level of transparency needed to run this in an authentic way. Raising the blinds on the entire crowdsourcing process made a few bankers nervous…”

Staying transparent and authentic

In these times of general unrest over financial trust and leadership, Kimberly’s position on transparency and authenticity are not only important for maintaining engagement, but potentially has the power to be a first step in exponentially changing public impression. For me, Kimberly’s understanding of the power of “crowdsourcing”, or engagement leading directly to brand loyalty, is what conversation-centric marketing is all about. To be able to encourage activism on the scale Community Giving did… priceless.

Related articles:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,