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Wells Fargo increased its philanthropic impact in 2018 by donating $444 million to nearly 11,000 nonprofits that help communities and people in need, surpassing its $400 million goal. The company has been committed to local communities throughout its 167-year history and has increased its philanthropy 25 times over the past 28 years.
“We approach philanthropy with a problem-solving mindset,” said Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan. “We want to help people find an affordable place to live, work with diverse small business owners on growth and expansion, and support young people in learning job skills that can translate into a steady income. It is a privilege to collaborate with nonprofits in the U.S. and around the world to make a difference in the communities where we live and work. And we recognize that families and neighborhoods need the public and private sectors to work together in providing both resources and expertise.”
Making an impact in the community
In collaboration with thousands of local leaders, the Wells Fargo Foundation concentrated its 2018 philanthropy on addressing urgent community issues. Specifically, the company supported:
Increasing affordable housing. Wells Fargo dedicated more than $117 million to helping the millions of people and families who do not have an affordable, stable place to call home. This includes nearly $75 million to expand NeighborhoodLIFT®, the company’s long-running homeownership program for low- and moderate-income communities with NeighborWorks®America, to nine markets in 2018. In 2019, the program will reach 10 additional cities and surpass a milestone of 20,000 homeowners created through homebuyer education and down payment assistance since 2012.
Through the Wells Fargo Builds℠ program, Wells Fargo team members built and improved 489 affordable homes with more than 57,700 volunteer hours in 2018, bringing the total to 8,090 affordable homes built and improved by more than 4.8 million team member volunteer hours in the past 25 years.
Empowering small businesses. Wells Fargo provided $24 million to give entrepreneurs in rural and urban markets access to capital and training. The support is part of a previously announced Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital commitment through 2020 to grow diverse small businesses. Since its inception, the Diverse Community Capital program has helped small business owners retain and create 36,000 jobs.
As part of the DCC program, the Carolina Small Business Development Fund is working with Historically Black Colleges and Universities as one of nearly 45 Community Development Financial Institutions that received grants across 25 states and Washington, D.C., in 2018. La Cocina in San Francisco used its funding to nurture female food entrepreneurs and aspiring restaurant owners with technical training and access to its commercial kitchen.
Promoting economic equity and inclusion. Wells Fargo giving focused on underserved communities, with $216 million supporting nonprofits that directly serve ethnically diverse neighborhoods, including African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, American Indian/Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. With $90 million, support for the LGBTQ community, veterans, and people with disabilities remained an important part of promoting inclusion.
With funding from Wells Fargo, including a commitment to seed a $5 million Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund, GRID Alternatives has provided 2,000 low-income and tribal households with solar power to help lower energy bills and trained 3,500 people for careers in clean energy.
Improving access to education. Wells Fargo allocated $90 million to education in local communities, including K-12 support, scholarships, and financial education. School projects featured a new technology center and library renovation at Annie Pennycook Elementary School in Vallejo, California, money management for 15,000 students in Washington state, college preparation for Miami and Los Angeles students in low-income neighborhoods, and solar energy education at grade schools in Charlotte, North Carolina, among many other programs.
Beyond scholarships, the Hands on Banking® program is a public service offered by Wells Fargo. This free, noncommercial financial education program, available in English and Spanish, teaches people of all ages about responsible money management — including specific modules for youth, adults, veterans, seniors, and entrepreneurs. In 2018, more than 1.7 million people learned about money management through the Hands on Banking program, with adult participants reporting a 14 percent increase in knowledge about managing their expenses, 24 percent increased intention to save for emergencies, and a 22 percent boost in confidence that they can gain control of their financial situation.
Supporting a low-carbon economy. The company contributed $16 million to support the work of nonprofits helping communities become more resilient — including environmental education, resiliency planning, green infrastructure, and bringing renewable energy to low-income communities.
The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator, or IN2, a collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, is a clean-technology incubator and platform whose mission is to speed the path to market for early-stage, clean energy and agriculture technologies. To date, the 25 participating companies have raised more than $122 million in follow-on funding from external sources beyond the $250,000 in funding they each received from IN2. Six have conducted beta tests at Wells Fargo or National Renewable Energy Laboratory facilities; four have successfully exited the program via mergers or acquisitions.
“We are living in an unprecedented time in which people need to come together to solve challenges,” said Jon Campbell, president of the Wells Fargo Foundation. “With so many Americans working to make ends meet, there’s an increased urgency for immediate assistance, as well as strategic, long-term action to address systemic challenges like poverty, affordable housing, and sustainable neighborhoods. Part of what makes Wells Fargo’s philanthropy unique is our local approach, a commitment extended by the volunteerism of our team members.”
Recognizing team member philanthropy and volunteerism
In 2019, for the 10th year in a row, United Way Worldwide has recognized Wells Fargo as No. 1 in workplace giving. This distinction comes from thousands of team members who collectively pledged $75.4 million throughout 2018 and during Wells Fargo’s companywide Community Support Campaign, which aims to lift communities and direct resources to pressing community challenges like education, hunger, homelessness, and more.
For the second consecutive year, Wells Fargo team members in 2018 donated 2 million hours of volunteer time. More than 96,000 team members across the U.S. volunteered at local schools, food pantries, homes for veterans and underserved families, giving gardens, and more. Wells Fargo offers 16 hours of paid volunteer time annually for team members.
Supporting team members during times of need
Wells Fargo has a long tradition of helping its team members during times of financial hardship. In 2018, $6 million in emergency grants for team members was added to the company’s WE Care Fund. The fund was established in 2001 to help team members facing unexpected medical issues, natural disasters, and other life-changing events. The Wells Fargo Team Member Dependent Children Scholarship Fund is another employee resource that helps cover college costs so parents and students can worry less and enjoy the college years more.