Wells Fargo donates $444M to nonprofits for affordable housing, small businesses

A Wells Fargo logo is seen in New York City, U.S. January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Wells Fargo increased its charitable donations last year, surpassing its philanthropic goal, in an effort to support nonprofit organizations that help the local communities and small businesses around the U.S.

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The big bank donated $444 million to nearly 11,000 organizations that focus their work on promoting affordable housing, small businesses, education and environmental sustainability.

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“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,” Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan said in a statement. “And we recognize that families and neighborhoods need the public and private sectors to work together in providing both resources and expertise.”

More than $117 million was dedicated to increasing affordable housing, including nearly $75 million through its NeighborhoodLIFT program, a collaboration with NeighborWorks America, to provide financial education and assistance with down payments for prospective homebuyers in low- and moderate-income communities. Wells Fargo said the program expanded to nine cities in 2018 and will reach 10 additional cities this year. NeighborhoodLIFT has helped create 20,000 homeowners since 2012.

Wells Fargo also donated $24 million to assist entrepreneurs in rural and urban markets gain access to capital and training, part of its Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital commitment through 2020. The company said the program has helped owners of small businesses “retain and create” 36,000 jobs.

Additionally, the company allocated $16 million to nonprofits that work to bring renewable energy to low-income communities, provide environmental education, resiliency planning and green infrastructure.

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The company used $90 million of its charitable donation to support local K-12 education, scholarships and financial education.

“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,” Wells Fargo Foundation President Jon Campbell said in a statement.