Wells Fargo Commits $50 Million to American Indian/Alaska Native Communities

Wells Fargo's five-year financial commitment will primarily focus on environmental sustainability, economic empowerment, and diversity and social inclusion.

(Originally published on WellsFargo.com)


Wells Fargo (No. 9 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) has committed $50 million over the next five years to help address the economic, social, and environmental needs of American Indian/Alaska Native communities.

The company will expand philanthropy programs, work to improve products and services that meet the financial and banking needs of American Indian/Alaska Native communities, award grants to national nonprofits serving these communities, and help create a greater awareness of their culture, history, and contributions.

"We are only as successful as the communities in which we work," CEO Tim Sloan said. "Our longstanding relationships with tribal governments and American Indian/Alaska Native customers are a point of tremendous pride at Wells Fargo. I am pleased to be able to make this announcement on behalf of our 268,000 team members as part of Native American Heritage Month."

Wells Fargo leadership consulted American Indian/Alaska Native businesses, nonprofits, and tribal governments to develop and vet the financial commitment."In the past few years, through dialogue with various tribal leaders and tribal members, we have learned a great deal about the specific needs and challenges faced by many of our stakeholders," said Jon Campbell, head of Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations for Wells Fargo.

"And, with the commitment we announced today, we intend to help address some of those challenges in partnership with AI/AN leaders, governments, and tribal nonprofit organizations in ways that are intentional, relevant, and inclusive."The bulk of the financial commitment will be devoted to philanthropy aligned with the concerns raised by consulted tribal stakeholders during the development of the commitment and Wells Fargo's 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility focus areas.

It will focus primarily on:

  • Environmental sustainabilityrenewable energy projects and clean water programs.
  • Economic empowerment: down payment assistance, affordable housing development, and other programs to advance homeownership; capacity building for American Indian/Alaska Native Community Development Financial Institutions to support small businesses and create jobs and asset-building programs to help individual tribal members create wealth through matched savings and other mechanisms; a customized financial capability curriculum; and postsecondary education programs and scholarships.
  • Diversity and social inclusion: leadership and career development training; cultural awareness and language preservation programs.

Wells Fargo will announce recipients of national grants who serve these communities on a rolling basis beginning in the first quarter of 2018. Beginning in January 2018, local nonprofits serving American Indian/Alaska Native communities may apply for grants through Wells Fargo's online tool.

The $50 million commitment will also allow Wells Fargo to expand its dedicated resources for tribal advocacy and community outreach. This will include hiring a business-relationship manager to focus entirely on the American Indian/Alaska Native market segment and work closely with Wells Fargo's national tribal advocate, Cora Gaane. The company will also assemble a cross-functional advisory council comprised of Wells Fargo's lines of businesses and stakeholder and community engagement, policy, and philanthropy teams to identify and address challenges within American Indian/Alaska Native communities.

More than 50 years of support

Wells Fargo has been serving American Indian/Alaska Native governments and communities for more than 50 years and currently provides capital and financial services to more than 200 tribal entities in 27 states, including tribal community development projects. "Wells Fargo appreciates the engagement we have had with our tribal customers over more than 50 years, and we respect the sovereignty of their nations," Campbell said.

In 2016, the company developed and published an Indigenous Peoples Statement in consultation with tribal leaders, indigenous stakeholders, and their representatives, to help guide decision-making on projects where proceeds of Wells Fargo financing may potentially impact American Indian, Alaska Native, or other indigenous communities.

"Wells Fargo is taking meaningful steps to ensure the bank is more responsive to the Native communities they serve," said Cristina Danforth, president of the Native American Financial Officers Association. "Aligning staff to better understand our needs and making a significant financial commitment to nonprofits serving Indian Country builds on Wells Fargo's policy approach and its adoption of the Indigenous Peoples Statement to consider and honor indigenous communities' cultural and environmental concerns. This comprehensive approach is a model we would like to see adopted by more financial institutions in Indian Country."

Wells Fargo's Native Peoples Team Member Network is another way the company provides support for American Indian/Alaska Native communities. Established in 2003, Wells Fargo's Native Peoples Team Member Network encourages team members to engage with and build understanding and support for the American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities that Wells Fargo serves, and provides insight into American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian cultures. It also offers its members professional and career development, mentoring and leadership engagement, and opportunities to plan and participate in American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian community outreach and events.

"As a Native American, I am so proud to be part of Wells Fargo, and I am very pleased with the progress we have been making for more than 50 years in serving financial needs in American Indian and Alaska Native communities through our business and our philanthropy," said Mark Jiron, operations manager at Wells Fargo Advisors and enterprise president of Wells Fargo's Native Peoples Team Member Network. "I see this generous commitment as a testament to where the company's heart and business intent truly is, and a signal to all stakeholders that the bank is serious about restoring trust with team members and in Indian Country."

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13 Organizations Awarded $12.1 Million From Wells Fargo to Support Diverse Small Businesses

Funding awarded to local Community Development Financial Institutions.

REUTERS

Originally Published by Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo & Company announced that 13 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) around the U.S. have been selected to receive $12.1 million in lending capital and grants under the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital (DCC) program. The recipients are private, nonprofit financial institutions that are dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable financial products to underserved populations and communities. Many of the small and micro businesses CDFIs serve may not be ready to access capital through conventional financing methods.

The Diverse Community Capital recipients are:

  • BOC Capital Corp. - Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • California Capital Financial Development Corporation – Sacramento, Calif.
  • Cooperative Development Fund of CDS for Shared Capital Cooperative - St. Paul, Minn.
  • Cooperative Fund of New England – serving New England
  • Entrepreneur Fund – Duluth, Minn.
  • First American Capital Corporation – West Allis, Wis.
  • Hartford Community Loan Fund – Hartford, Conn.
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation – serving Los Angeles
  • Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) – San Francisco
  • Mountain BizWorks – Asheville, N.C.
  • New Jersey Community Capital – New Brunswick, N.J.
  • PeopleFund – Austin, Texas
  • Rainier Valley Community Development Fund – Seattle, Wash.

Diverse Community Capital funds will be used by the awardees to increase lending to diverse small business owners; help more diverse small business owners get the coaching and education resources they may need to grow their business; and improve, create or add resources, materials, products, or programs to better serve their target market.

Under the program, awardees also have the opportunity to participate in a social capital component, delivered by Opportunity Finance Network, a national network of CDFIs. Social capital opportunities include an online learning community, working groups on specific topics, consulting, peer learning and mentoring.

"Now in its third year, the DCC program's impact on communities has been compelling," said Connie Smith, Wells Fargo's Diverse Community Capital program manager. "DCC awardees are increasing access to capital and development services for diverse small businesses in their local communities. These awards are inspiring collaboration and innovation in the CDFI industry every day."

In fiscal year 2017, Diverse Community Capital awardees closed more than $284 million in loans to diverse small business clients. That represents a year-over-year increase of 23 percent for the first 18 awardees and a 63 percent increase for the next 26 awardees. Awardees closed nearly $103 million to black or African American entrepreneurs and more than $75 million to Hispanic or Latino entrepreneurs. In addition, 76 of all development services offered by DCC awardees were delivered to diverse small businesses. Most awardees reported at least one new or changed program or product designed to increase capital deployment to their clients.

"When local businesses succeed, so do the communities where we live and work," said Mike Rizer, director of Community Relations at Wells Fargo. "By financing community businesses — including small businesses, microenterprises, and nonprofit organizations — CDFIs spark job growth and retention in communities across the U.S."

Today's announcement marks Diverse Community Capital's fifth installment, or round, of awardees since 2015. Wells Fargo has committed an additional $100 million over the next three years to CDFIs serving diverse small businesses.

To earn back your trust, Wells Fargo has renewed its commitment to you. See our re-established goals at http://www.wellsfargo.com/renew.
We are re-committing to you and re-inventing how we serve you, delivering banking features like Card-Free ATM Access, and Debit Card On or Off for when you misplace your debit card. We have changed our sales policies and culture to fix what went wrong and make things right, knowing an apology is just the beginning.