(Photo via Wells Fargo)

Wells Fargo Foundation Increased Access to Housing, Jobs, Financial Coaching in 2019

Originally published on newsroom.wf.com.

Grants funded nonprofits in 50 U.S. states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and international cities.

In 2019, the Wells Fargo Foundation launched a new philanthropic strategy anchored around unlocking economic opportunity for people and communities by addressing housing affordability, small business growth and financial health. The Foundation invested $455 million in grants in the last year, funding national organizations to deliver programs at scale and nonprofits that specifically address the needs of local markets.

“Wells Fargo is on a journey to create greater community impact through its business and philanthropy,” said Bill Daley, vice chairman of Public Affairs at Wells Fargo. “Economic mobility is a critical issue, particularly for low-to-moderate income communities where people lack access to the resources necessary for a sustainable livelihood: adequate housing, stable jobs, or financial health services. In the year ahead, we will streamline our grant-making around these important areas and focus on addressing systemic barriers to success. This is the time to collaborate, be bold and think like social entrepreneurs.”

“We commend Wells Fargo for their willingness to step up on issues facing our constituents and commit resources and expertise to look at community challenges at the local, state and national levels,” said Derrick Johnson, president and chief executive officer of NAACP. “We have a long way to go to achieve economic equality in this country, and it’s going to take highly focused efforts and unparalleled conviction to get us there. We were glad to see Wells Fargo further their commitment to housing, small business and financial health in its philanthropic approach; as these issues affect everyday life, particularly in low-income communities, and will create a pathway for more people to attain financial mobility.”

Making an Impact: Recap of 2019 Philanthropy

Overall, Wells Fargo’s philanthropy in 2019 helped more people find a place to call home, grow small businesses offering meaningful local jobs and increase financial health and wellness. Results include:

  • Housing affordabilityWells Fargo’s NeighborhoodLIFT ® program assisted 3,376 homeowners by offering homebuyer education plus down payments assistance grants across a dozen communities including Los Angeles; Washington, D.C. and Prince George’s County; Houston; Sacramento; Omaha, Neb.; Baltimore; the state of Alaska; Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas; Newark and Essex County, NJ; the state of Montana; Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Penn.; and Portland, Ore.

    In addition, Wells Fargo made more than 2,800 grants to nonprofits in response to the housing affordability crisis and unique local challenges in communities across the U.S. From Anchorage, Alaska to Atlanta, Wells Fargo supported organizations that are developing new affordable rental homes, expanding homeownership opportunities for ethnically diverse households, creating long-term affordability by investing in community land trusts, and stopping the devastating flow of families into homelessness. For example, Wells Fargo provided funding for the renovation of apartments at Hope Gardens Family Center in Los Angeles, where the Union Rescue Mission helps women and children move from the streets into stable homes.

  • Small business growth: small businesses are an important driving force in job creation and thriving communities. In 2019, philanthropic capital for Community Development Financial Institutions supported more than 107,000 loans. Through Wells Fargo’s Diverse Community Capital (DCC) program, small businesses owned by people of color, immigrants, women, veterans and the LGBTQ community, among others, empowered diverse entrepreneurs to create or sustain more than 79,000 jobs and to rebuild small businesses in places like Puerto Rico, California, Florida and North Carolina after natural disasters and wildfires. Since 2015, DCC has propelled small business growth with $1.4 billion in financing and 183,000 jobs across the United States.

    The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2), a collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Lab that speeds the path to market for promising clean-technology startups, is another example of momentum in the small business community. In 2019, IN2 expanded into sustainable agriculture and residential housing, adding 15 new startups. To date, 40 portfolio companies have gone on to raise more than $282 million in follow-on funding and six have successfully exited the program through mergers and acquisitions.

  • Financial health: Financial health tools and coaching gives families the tools, knowledge, and confidence needed to save money, reduce debt and build financial stability. The ability for individuals and families to succeed on their own is critical to the long-term stability of vulnerable populations and communities. In 2019, Wells Fargo launched a new program with UnidosUS that integrates free, bilingual, financial coaching into the delivery of healthcare and wellness services. Overall, the support from Wells Fargo is expected to create an opportunity for more than 25,000 Latinos in six markets to receive individualized financial coaching services and pursue financial goals.

    With tax-time approaching, the Wells Fargo Foundation and the AARP Foundation are reaching seniors with free tax preparation services, helping them access critical tax credits and refunds that many depend on for household necessities, debt repayment, or savings. The funding will enable AARP Foundation to expand Tax-Aide, the largest free, volunteer-run tax preparation service in the U.S., to 24 additional neighborhood locations while more than doubling the number of taxpayers who receive a refund and save a portion, or all, of their refund from 34,000 to over 70,000.

  • Local Market Giving: in addition to funding against the strategic pillars, local markets address priority community needs working in concert with local leaders in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Wells Fargo employees also volunteered 1.9 million hours to strengthen their communities in 2019, including at more than 900 projects worldwide during the company’s Dedicated Day of Service.

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