Supporting our communities: Wells Fargo’s $455M impact
Wells Fargo funded nonprofits in 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and internationally in 2019 and launched a new philanthropic strategy to support housing affordability, small business growth, and financial health.
The Wells Fargo Foundation invested $455 million in grants in 2019, providing economic opportunity for people and communities across the U.S. and internationally. The Wells Fargo Foundation also launched a new philanthropic strategy in 2019, anchored around housing affordability, small business growth, and financial health.
“Wells Fargo is on a journey to create greater community impact through its business and philanthropy,” said Bill Daley, vice chair 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.”
A recap of 2019 philanthropy
Housing affordability: 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 and 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.
Wells Fargo’s NeighborhoodLIFT® program assisted 3,376 homeowners by offering homebuyer education and down payment assistance grants across a dozen communities, including Los Angeles; Washington, D.C., and Prince George’s County, Maryland; Houston; Sacramento, California; Omaha, Nebraska; Baltimore; the state of Alaska; Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas; Newark and Essex County, New Jersey; the state of Montana; Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; and Portland, Oregon.
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 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, the Diverse Community Capital program has propelled small business growth with $1.4 billion in financing and 183,000 jobs across the U.S.
The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator, 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, the incubator 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 completed the program through mergers and acquisitions.
Financial health: Helping people facing persistent poverty access the financial coaching necessary to save money, reduce debt, and build financial stability gives families the tools, knowledge, and confidence needed to continue 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 the AARP Foundation to expand Tax-Aide, the largest free, volunteer-run tax preparation service in the U.S., to 24 additional neighborhood locations while increasing the number of taxpayers who receive a refund and save a portion or all of their refund from 34,000 to more than 70,000.
Local market giving: In addition to funding aligned with the strategic pillars, local markets addressed priority community needs, working with local leaders in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Wells Fargo team members 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.