Making an impact in their communities: ‘It’s more than just the project’
Last year, Wells Fargo employees volunteered 1.9 million hours — read how they made an impact in their communities.
Editor’s note: Because of the deep connection we have with the communities we serve, on March 8, the Wells Fargo Foundation committed up to $6.25 million in donations to support the domestic and global response to COVID-19 and to aid public health relief efforts. In the interest of the health of our employees and our communities, effective immediately, we are pausing Wells Fargo-organized volunteer activities through April 12, given guidance from the CDC. We plan to reassess the situation after April 12 and will communicate more information at that time.
Clayton Sampson believes life is more enjoyable when helping others. Heather Hoffman finds inspiration through being involved in her community. Angela Hale-Walls feels proud to make an impact.
These are just three of the employees who volunteered to strengthen their communities in 2019. Last year, Wells Fargo employees volunteered 1.9 million hours, including at more than 900 projects worldwide during the company’s Dedicated Day of Service in September. The Wells Fargo Foundation also invested $455 million in grants in 2019, providing economic opportunity for people and communities across the U.S. and internationally.
“Volunteerism is core to our company’s culture, and we have a long history of giving time to our communities — as evident in the amount of volunteer time people passionately give at the local level,” said Jimmie Paschall, interim president of the Wells Fargo Foundation. “Nonprofits rely on us to help advance their work and meet critical community needs, and every year, Wells Fargo employees step up and show they care.”
Volunteering alongside their colleagues
Sampson, a Wholesale loan administrator in Denver and chairperson for the Colorado Green Team, enjoys volunteering with GRID Alternatives, whose mission is to make renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities. Alongside his colleagues, Sampson has assisted with tasks like installing solar panels on the roofs of homes and wiring, to name a few.
"It provides a chance for team members with similar nonwork interests to get together,” Sampson said. “I’ve met many people from other lines of business that I would never have known — and gotten to know some of my own work team better — by participating in GRID builds. Volunteer projects also break down corporate hierarchy. Everyone is there to help, and it becomes easy to engage with others.”
“It provides a chance for team members with similar non-work interests to get together. I’ve met many people from other lines of business that I would never have known — and gotten to know some of my own work team better — by participating in GRID builds.” — Clayton Sampson
When Hale-Walls, a mortgage processor in Philadelphia, first joined Wells Fargo, she heard about how active Wells Fargo employees are in their communities — and paid Community Service Time that the company provides employees to volunteer in their communities. “I was excited to be a part of that,” she said.
Hale-Walls participated in the Rock the Block event in north Philadelphia during the Day of Service with several members from her team. During the event, Wells Fargo volunteers helped revitalize a neighborhood by repairing facades, painting, weeding, and landscaping 50 homes. “It was very overwhelming to see the sea of red Wells Fargo volunteer T-shirts that were working on the homes in Philadelphia,” Hale-Walls said. “I felt proud to be a part of that campaign. The people were happy, the block looked nice, and I left thinking, ‘I helped do that. My employer allowed me to do that and feel good about myself.’”
“It was very overwhelming to see the sea of red Wells Fargo volunteer T-shirts that were working on the homes in Philadelphia. I felt proud to be a part of that campaign.” — Angela Hale-Walls
Hoffman, a field support consultant in Woodland Hills, California, also spoke of the impact of seeing the red Wells Fargo shirts “dotting the landscape” and working alongside her colleagues. She participated in a Tiny Home event in Santa Maria, California, building furniture and assembling drawers, a bed frame, and accessories inside a home that was given to a veteran. Hoffman and her fellow local Volunteer Chapter advisory board members participated in the event together.
“We decided to be a part of this fun event as a way to give back to the community and to work together as a team toward a common goal,” Hoffman said. “Our advisory board stretches across the three counties we cover, with Santa Maria being in the middle, so it made for a great chance to get to physically work as a team. We had the opportunity to learn, teach each other, and develop trust through the building process. We got the chance to see each other outside of the branch and bank, and learn more about each other throughout the day.”
“We decided to be a part of this fun event as a way to give back to the community and to work together as a team toward a common goal.” — Heather Hoffman
Volunteers are also moved by the impact they’ve made in their communities.
Hale-Walls was touched by the reaction from the people she helped during Rock the Block, like Yolanda Williams, the homeowner whose fence she and other Wells Fargo volunteers replaced. “The community felt like somebody cared about them,” Hale-Walls said. “They were proud of the outside of their home again. When we put up the fence and Ms. Yolanda cried, it really touched me. She did not feel that she deserved anything, and we were there for her.”
Hoffman said she learned more about issues and needs in her community during the Tiny Home event.
“I had no idea about the propensity of homelessness among women veterans in our counties,” Hoffman said. “It gave me a chance to see a different perspective and brought to light a hidden issue. I was so inspired by the stories that were shared.”
Sampson recalled the monetary and emotional impact of the solar installation he worked on last year. It was estimated that the homeowners will see a lifetime savings of more than $14,000 over 20 years, and he said they were very grateful, even providing breakfast for the volunteers.
“Each time I’ve done one of these, the recipient family has been very nice and appreciative of the workers and volunteers,” Sampson said.
But he said the most touching moment of last year’s project involved a neighbor who stopped by when they were on a break.
“We ended up talking with her for a good 15 minutes about volunteering and Wells Fargo,” Sampson said. “It was great to share a different perspective of the company with her than the one she got from the news. So often it’s more than just the project; it’s being visible in the community and showing that people want to help.”