The Fellowship Initiative Puts Young Men of Color on the Road to Success

The Fellowship Initiative, a program of JPMorgan Chase & Co. that creates economic opportunity for young men of color by preparing them to succeed in college and career, graduated 37 young fellows last Saturday before more than 200 guests. All are headed to a four-year college.


I’ve written about TFI before, and continue to be impressed with the program’s comprehensiveness. Students apply in the ninth grade; programming begins the summer before their sophomore year of high school and continues through the summer before college. It also includes college persistence support.

As a result, the students develop a camaraderie that helps them persevere toward their goals. Among several students who spoke at the graduation, one student, Shemar Clarke, gave a touching tribute to his recently deceased father; but the speech also honored several of his fellows, as well as the initiative as a whole.

One student couldn’t make it for the best of reasons: He was attending orientation at Cornell University.

Expanding the Opportunity for Success


Special guests at the event included Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, and mentor and former Olympian Lorenzo Smith, who delivered remarks on the importance of mentoring.


Perhaps a particularly special moment was the announcement that JPMorgan Chase will be expanding the program to Dallas, as well as recruiting new classes in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.

“Providing much-needed educational and career opportunities for young men of color will require an all-hands-on-deck effort,” said Rep. Jeffries in a statement. “The Fellowship Initiative plays a critical role to that end. I am thrilled to learn of the program’s expansion and look forward to witnessing its continued success. Jamie Dimon and all involved at JP Morgan Chase should be applauded for their commitment in this regard.”


This year, 117 students completed the program across the three cities where it is currently offered: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Altogether, they have been accepted into more than 200 colleges. In all three cities the program includes the following:

  • Academic training and project-based learning throughout the school year and summer
  • Leadership and entrepreneurship training
  • One-on-one mentorship with JPMorgan Chase employees
  • College tours and college preparation workshops
  • SAT/ACT prep
  • Team-building events

International travel and opportunities for internships at JPMorgan Chase are also included.

“It’s a national emergency that high school graduation rates for young men of color are dangerously low, and so many who do graduate lack the skills they need to be successful in college or their careers,” Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., is quoted in a statement. “The path to a successful future begins at a young age, and The Fellowship Initiative has proven that the right combination of intensive academic, mentoring, and leadership training, can help them get ahead—and that success can help drive entire communities forward, too.”

At Black Enterprise’s inaugural Black Men XCEL Summit (#BMXCEL), to be held Aug. 30–Sept. 3, 2017, at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, we will include a special focus on TFI’s exceptional work.

For more information about TFI, visit its website.