Providing a beacon to nonprofits
Wells Fargo’s suite of services includes products well-suited to the needs of nonprofits nationwide.
For Selena Soltero, finding her first day job at the age of 24 wasn’t easy. Diagnosed with a developmental disability that affects how she receives and processes information, Soltero realized not just any opportunity would work for her. But having worked most of her adult life as the caretaker of a family member, she was eager to assert her independence. A friend referred her to Beacon Group, an Arizona-based nonprofit that helps make employment opportunities more accessible for people with disabilities. Beacon helped Soltero arrange a skills-based job interview with Compass Group, which staffs corporate facilities and participates in Wells Fargo’s Supported Employment program to extend employment opportunities to people with diverse abilities.
At the specially designed, skills-based interview, Soltero proved her adeptness at setting up rooms, restocking beverage areas, cleaning furniture, and other duties that were in demand at the Wells Fargo Connections facility in Chandler, Arizona.
Though short on words, Soltero can now tell people she is happily employed. “This job gives me responsibility — I can pay for rent, lights, and food. I am happy with my job,” Soltero said.
Soltero is an example of how the connections between Beacon and Wells Fargo can benefit all involved. Just as the nonprofit carefully considered Soltero’s needs and matched them with the business goals of Wells Fargo, Wells Fargo recognizes and responds to the needs of nonprofit banking clients like Beacon Group.
“This job gives me responsibility — I can pay for rent, lights, and food. I am happy with my job.” — Selena Soltero
Supporting the mission of Beacon Group
In addition to access to loan products well-suited for nonprofits, Beacon receives guidance on its investments through the bank as a grant recipient and treasury management client.
“We started with regular banking products, and now we are way beyond that,” said Greg Natvig, CEO of Beacon. “Wells Fargo has really taken the time to understand our business and given us some of the tools we use to improve and make progress on our mission.”
Early in the banking relationship, Natvig worked with Commercial Banker Diane Quihuis. The Wells Fargo Public Finance team was brought in to support a tax-exempt priced bond owned and funded by Wells Fargo available for qualifying nonprofits and projects. With the loan, Beacon purchased nearby buildings and expanded its parking lot. Now, Beacon can better accommodate clients with disabilities, as well as job coaches, such as those who helped guide Soltero on her path to employment.
“The big thing for a nonprofit is that we want to have control of our finances and be able to carefully manage our expenses,” Natvig said. “This type of loan allows us to have a very secure, long-term plan in place. This is one of the options Wells Fargo gave us that stood out from all the rest.”
Feeling supported as a client, Beacon went on to expand its relationship with Wells Fargo, using Merchant Card Services, Treasury Management, and Desktop Deposit® among its suite of services.
“Wells Fargo has really taken the time to understand our business and given us some of the tools we use to improve and make progress on our mission.” — Greg Natvig
Through its foundation and philanthropy, Wells Fargo has extended grants to expand community-focused programs and initiatives for nonprofits like Beacon nationwide. Wells Fargo recently helped Beacon secure a $35,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco to expand hands-on training programs for people with disabilities.
Last fall, Beacon received a Wells Fargo Foundation grant for $10,000 to help underserved, transition-aged youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities find long-term, sustainable jobs through its customized employment program called ENCORE. The program works directly with 18- to 24-year-olds, discovering their skills and interests, and connecting them with small businesses in the community to meet the needs of both.
Perhaps lesser known than its grant-funding efforts are Wells Fargo’s Philanthropic Services, where financial advisors work specifically with nonprofits and their donors, offering investment management services.
Philanthropic Services is available to approximately 2,000 nonprofits, like Beacon, nationwide.
Gordon Reynolds, a senior investment strategist with the Investment and Fiduciary Services group, and John Kuczynski, senior fiduciary advisory specialist, manage investments for Beacon. They can also advise on the philanthropic side by teaming with Wells Fargo’s Philanthropic Services administrators like Denise McClintic.
“We work with Beacon to share ideas that will help the organization grow financially so they can expand the important programs that they have,” Reynolds said.
Wells Fargo’s Philanthropic Services team manages about $23 billion in assets for nonprofits.
“We help many nonprofit clients achieve their long-term goals,” said McClintic.
Beacon has connected thousands of people with disabilities with jobs over the years, and is creating lasting results.
Soltero’s job coach at Beacon, B’Etta Euler, said Soltero’s role as a porter has been pivotal and gives her a sense of achievement. Euler and Soltero have established systems to help her find success with her daily tasks, and she has been able to work mostly independently since just two weeks into the job.
“Having a job means having positive people around you,” Soltero said. “It’s nice.”