KeyBank partners with JumpStart to create 4,500 jobs in Ohio, train workers and students

KeyBank hopes to help create more than 4,500 jobs in Ohio with a new partnership between its foundation and JumpStart Inc., which invests in startup and young businesses.

KeyBank Foundation today announced a $24 million commitment to JumpStart over four years. The vast majority of the focus will be in Ohio while some will be in upstate New York.

The grant to JumpStart is aimed at stimulating economic growth and workforce development by bolstering new and fledgling small businesses.

Overall, officials estimate the grant will help create 5,350 jobs in Ohio and New York, with about 800 of those in New York, where Key also has a large presence.

The endeavor will target 4,300 small businesses in Ohio and 1,200 in New York, said Kim Kowalski, spokeswoman for Cleveland-based KeyBank. Many of the small businesses will be tech-related.

“KeyBank’s purpose is to help clients and communities thrive,” KeyCorp CEO Beth Mooney said in a statement. “We are committed to being both a responsible bank and a responsible citizen. We accomplish this,” she said, “by improving access to education and career opportunities, lifting neighborhoods up, fostering innovation, creating pathways to home and business ownership, and encouraging community engagement, diversity, and inclusion.”

Mooney noted that KeyBank and JumpStart have worked together for years but said, “this expansion is purpose in action.”

JumpStart has been nationally recognized for nurturing companies with potential to create jobs and thrive. Most of its funding comes from grants and gifts from individuals and companies.

The new KeyBank/ JumpStart partnership will also focus on preparing students for careers in technology, service and manufacturing.

The other goals of the program are:

  • Accelerate the growth of thousands of small businesses, the majority which will be woman- or minority-owned.
  • Match 800 people with existing job opportunities.
  • Help more than 1,000 students prepare to enter the workforce after they graduate from high school. A large focus will be vocational education and workforce training for students in Cleveland.
  • Help tech companies through workforce training for 1,000 people.

KeyBank and JumpStart will create the KeyBank Center for Technology, Innovation and Inclusive Growth, which will serve people across Ohio. The partnership will also offer small business technical assistance in Cleveland, and Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany N.Y.

JumpStart CEO Ray Leach said the new project will take the collaboration with Key to another level. He pointed out that KeyBank’s support already has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs and created thousands of jobs.

“This expanded partnership with KeyBank . . .  will dramatically increase the impact of entrepreneurs and small businesses on neighborhoods and communities,” he said in a statement.

“This transformative partnership will allow us and our partners to provide services and much needed capital for many more startup and scaling companies, catalyzing job growth and innovation across Ohio and in upstate New York. It will also dramatically increase the participation of minorities and women in the growth of these companies, a goal we’ve long shared.”

KeyBank has been working with JumpStart since 2006, Kowalski said. Since then, Key has given JumpStart more than $1 million to support minority, inner city and female entrepreneurs in Northeast Ohio. “Their partnership has been critical as we, along with our many fellow non-profit collaborators, have helped entrepreneurs and small business owners create more than $4.5 billion in economic impact in the state of Ohio and the thousands of new jobs in the last 10 years.”

Margot Copeland, CEO and chairman of the KeyBank Foundation, said the foundation focuses on people and neighborhoods. “Together, we will work to economically transform neighborhoods across Ohio and New York from the ground up.”

Key’s $24 million grant is part of the $16.5 billion promise the bank made last year to invest in neighborhoods and local economies following its purchase of Buffalo-based First Niagara. Key worked with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition to smooth over the controversy because of branch closures and job cuts among the two banks’ combined 19,000 workers.

Key worked with community groups on a “community benefits plan” that includes $5 billion in mortgage lending in low- to moderate-income communities, $2.5 billion in small business and farm lending, $8.8 billion in community development lending, $3 million to support banking services in underserved communities, and $175 million from the KeyBank Foundation for education and workforce development.

The $24 million to JumpStart is KeyBank Foundation’s biggest grant ever, six times larger than any past philanthropic gift.

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