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Chase to invest $1.5M for Detroit Schools programs

DETROIT (AP) -- JPMorgan Chase said Monday that it is giving $1 million to a Detroit nonprofit group to provide educational and other services to low-income families of students at three southwest side public schools, in an effort to improve the quality of life in those neighborhoods.

In addition to its grant to Southwest Solutions, the bank said it has pledged another $500,000 in grants to other Detroit groups.

Southwest Solutions provides human services programs and affordable housing and economic development. The agency will use its grant to expand its Centers for Working Families at Harms and Maybury elementary schools and Western International High School. Centers for Working Families teaches financial stability strategies to low-income families and also develops educational and employment opportunities for them.

The grant money also will be tied to an English language program for parents at two of the Detroit schools and help neighborhood preservation efforts. The agency wants to provide home repair loans or property improvement grants to 115 homeowners, and demolish 30 vacant properties near the three schools.

"We must stabilize families living in high-poverty neighborhoods by providing high quality educational opportunities and by creating job opportunities," said Sarah McClelland, Michigan market president for Chase.

Detroit's southwest side has a large Hispanic population.

An additional $500,000 in grants will assist a number of groups that provide job and financial literacy training, as well as other services, to young people and parents.

The state Department of Human Services will place a "success coach" in Western High School to work with students, staff and parents on issues inside and outside of the school.

The JPMorgan Chase investment and partnerships with the state and other groups fit in with a recently announced Detroit Public Schools 5-year strategic plan to develop quality schools as community hubs.

As part of the plan, the district will offer free pre-kindergarten classes to 4-year-olds in the city and keep some school buildings open to families 12 hours a day, seven days each week.

The district will enforce a stronger attendance policy and increase security in and around its schools.

"We want the school to be the place where not only children, but adults receive education and training, where child care services are offered for infants up to pre-k and senior care may be provided," Roberts said.