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Will.i.am Teaming Up With Chase to Bring Back Boyle Heights

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Can a bank and a pop star help turn around a poor and undereducated neighborhood? We should know soon, thanks to Chase and Black Eyed Pea will.i.am, who have announced a collaboration called TRANS4M Boyle Heights (will.i.am grew up in the neighborhood and has already said he wants to open a car company there). The plan is to provide "multiple social services that address Boyle Heights’ particular needs including education, jobs and job training, health, home ownership and green space," according to a press release. They'll also work with other partners to provide a series of services to the neighborhood--College Track will open a Boyle Heights center this summer aimed at helping kids go to college; the California Endowment will help with access to healthcare; and FIRST (founded by Segway inventor Dean Kamen) will encourage kids to get involved in science, technology, engineering, math.

Chase has just announced a $1 million grant to will.i.am's i.am angel foundation that will "kick start the building of a community center in Boyle Heights," according to Annenberg TV News. They've also promised to commit "directly and through the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, at least $7 million over the next three years to their other non-profit partners to help TRANS4M Boyle Heights." The bank will provide jobs and "workplace experiences" to students in the College Track program; open up a Chase Homeownership Center in Boyle Heights; "provide advisory services to i.am home, will.i.am’s effort to help counsel and provide financial aid to struggling homeowners"; and offer up Chase employee volunteers to "offer financial education curriculum."

As the press release from Chase and will.i.am points out, the median household income in Boyle Heights is $33,270 and the neighborhood has an unemployment rate of 17.1%. Less than a third of adults over 25 have a high school diploma.
· Chase, will.i.am team up to TRANS4M Boyle Heights [MarketWatch]
· Black Eyed Pea Says He's Bringing Car Co. to Boyle Heights [Curbed LA]

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