Giving addresses community issues around affordable housing, small businesses, education and sustainability
Wells Fargo announced the company donated more than $35.8 million to local nonprofits, schools and community organizations in 2018 to help the communities and people of North Carolina. The total includes $25.6 million through 1,148 grants from the Wells Fargo Foundation, $3.3 million in matching grants to educational institutions and $6.85 million through the NeighborhoodLIFT effort in Charlotte. In addition, Wells Fargo team members in North Carolina showed their commitment by logging 237,800 volunteer hours with nonprofits, schools and community organizations, and by donating more than $13.2 million.
Wells Fargo’s philanthropic contributions build on a long history of collaboration with local nonprofits and community leaders to make a positive impact by addressing urgent community issues such as affordable housing, small-business growth, access to education and sustainability.
“Wells Fargo has a rich history of community support across the country and here in North Carolina,” said Juan Austin of Wells Fargo Community Relations. “We approach philanthropy with a problem-solving mindset, working with a range of public and private sector stakeholders to understand the most urgent problems and the solutions that can have the most impact — from helping people find a stable place to live to helping small business owners expand to helping young people learn job skills that can translate into a steady income. Our goal is to help build strong and vibrant communities, improve the quality of life and make a positive difference.”
Making an impact across North Carolina
Wells Fargo concentrated its local philanthropic contributions on addressing urgent community issues such as:
- Affordable housing. To help increase affordable, stable housing and homeownership in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, Wells Fargo collaborated with grantees such as Community Housing Solutions, Mountain Housing Opportunities, DHIC and CASA to provide homebuyer education, down payment assistance and other affordable housing solutions. Wells Fargo also made a commitment to invest $20 million by 2020 in down payment assistance grants, support for the Housing Opportunity Fund and sustainable community development in the Charlotte region.
- Small business growth. Small businesses are critical to job creation and a vibrant community. Many diverse-owned small businesses, especially those in rural and low- to moderate-income communities, face unique challenges and often lack access to the full spectrum of resources necessary for growth and success. Nonprofits serving small businesses, including Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Self Help Ventures Fund, Micro Enterprise loan program and SCORE, received grants to provide access to capital and training for entrepreneurs in rural and urban markets. In addition, Wells Fargo provided funding for City Start Up Labs, focused on business entrepreneurial development for minorities in Charlotte.
- Economic equity and inclusion. Support included grants to nonprofits that directly serve diverse and historically underserved groups, including initiatives focused on the development of women and diverse talent, education and vocational training and other solutions for communities with limited access to traditional financial services. Wells Fargo is the founding organization for, and a long-standing investor in Community Building Initiative – a leadership development program in Charlotte that helps diverse regional leaders understand and address access, equity and inclusion issues related to economic development and civic engagement. In addition, Wells Fargo collaborated with the YWCA, Bennett College and Dress for Success Triangle NC.
- Access to education. Support included grants for local K-12 schools, scholarships for post-secondary or vocational training, and financial education, including Durham Technical Community College, the North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals, Junior Achievement and Communities in Schools. Wells Fargo also provided a grant for over 30 urban district principals in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools to participate in the nationally recognized Harvard Institute for Urban School Leadership.
- Minimizing the impacts of climate change. The company supported the work of nonprofits helping communities become more resilient in the face of a changing climate, including environmental education, resiliency planning, green infrastructure and bringing renewable energy to low-income communities. For example, Wells Fargo supported the Piedmont Environment Alliance, The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, Triangle Land Conservancy and the Coastal Land Trust. In addition, Wells Fargo provided more than $5 million in support for Catawba Lands Conservancy to preserve land, create green infrastructure and promote access to the Carolina Thread Trail.
Included in Wells Fargo’s support were funds committed to the American Red Cross to help provide shelter and relief in communities across North Carolina and South Carolina impacted by Hurricane Florence. Wells Fargo is working with community leaders and proven nonprofits, targeting rural areas with high poverty levels, high unemployment and few resources. In addition, through the company’s Diverse Community Capital program, Wells Fargo donated more than $500,000 to nonprofit organizations supporting recovery efforts for small businesses in the region.
Nationwide, Wells Fargo team members volunteered 2 million hours with nonprofits last year, and contributed a total of $75.4 million to nonprofits across the country, leading United Way Worldwide to name Wells Fargo’s employee workplace the No.1 workplace giving campaign for 10 consecutive years.
“Part of what makes Wells Fargo unique is the generosity of our team members who help multiply our community impact,” added Jay Everette, Community Relations manager for Charlotte. “Sometimes giving time is even more valuable than money, because it puts our desire to build a strong community into action and gives us a tangible way to personally make a difference.”