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Corporate Citizenship & Giving Guide 2022 – Addressing Affordable Housing, Homelessness, Small Business and Financial Health

Over the course of the pandemic, Wells Fargo helped address food shortages, public health needs, financial health, small business stability, and housing security for the most vulnerable populations. Now post-pandemic at a local level, we have been allocating resources through expedited grant-making, as well as through relief efforts with national and international organizations, to serve the immediate needs of our communities.

We have stepped up to provide philanthropic investments as we work together to create an equitable economic recovery in Los Angeles County.
Our overall philanthropic strategy is designed to make a greater impact in communities by more effectively combining our financial resources and business expertise.

Wells Fargo focuses on three strategic areas critical for economic advancement: housing affordability, small business growth, and financial health. Through our business and the Wells Fargo Foundation, we use our philanthropic resources, business expertise, ingenuity, and collaborations with public and private sector organizations to fix complex housing issues and address the financial health needs of small businesses.

Housing affordability

Wells Fargo’s goal is to increase access to stable, affordable places to live – including transitional housing, rentals, and home ownership – and place special emphasis on individuals disproportionately impacted by the housing affordability crisis. Locally, we have been working with several LA organizations, including Hope of the Valley and Housing Authority of Los Angeles.

Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission (HOTV) is one of the largest providers of housing and services for the homeless in California. HOTV operates 16 shelters with over 1,500 beds nightly. They expect to serve more than two million meals this year to the hungry and offer a full complement of rehabilitation programs including intensive case management, mental health services, substance abuse counseling, medical care, life skill training, job placement, and housing navigation.

In 2021, Wells Fargo served as the Site Sponsor for the largest Tiny Home Village in California at that time in Alexandria Park. Helping to build on the momentum, this year, we provided a grant to help fill the funding gap between the daily stipend HOTV gets from the City of Los Angeles for their operating costs and their actual costs. The City of Los Angeles provides daily stipends for each person, which leaves a significant gap which HOTV must fund from other sources. The 2022 grant from Wells Fargo has almost cut this gap in half and will also encourage other community funders to give to complete the ongoing funding for this and similar housing projects.

Another key aspect of Wells Fargo’s support is HOTV’s rehabilitation programs to move the homeless to independence and permanent housing is their Job Training and Job Placement Program at their San Fernando Valley Navigation Center. They actively recruit job seekers from their shelters and day laborers and currently have over 1,100 participants.

 

Our overall philanthropic strategy is designed to make a greater impact in communities by more effectively combining our financial resources and business expertise.

 

They provide immigration integration, adult education, legal services, computer literacy, and this year are partnering with Wells Fargo’s Region Bank President Robin Choi and his team to assist with resume preparation, and assistance with job interview skills and to offer financial literacy classes for those who find employment to build a new future of self-sufficiency and purpose.

Financial Health

With financial health being a key factor in opening pathways to economic development, Wells Fargo continues its work with California State University, Northridge (CSUN), the largest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Clinic in the nation. Wells Fargo provided a multi-year grant in 2022 which was matched dollar-for-dollar by the CSUN foundation that will allow the university to launch an innovative hybrid in-person and virtual platform to scale up cost-free tax preparation services, growing capacity of the Clinic to serve even more low-income taxpayers in Los Angeles County generating more than $19 million in tax refunds and $7.5 million in tax credits, while saving the taxpayers over $3.3 million in tax preparation fees. Taxpayers also received free one-on-one financial coaching services from their certified student financial coaches. Taxpayers are able to develop a customized budget, develop a strategy to pay down debt or save for a new house, college or retirement during these financial coaching sessions.

Small Business Growth

The Valley Economic Alliance received a grant from Wells Fargo to grow the capacity of their Business Assistance Program (BAP), which provides free, culturally responsive training, technical assistance, advising, and tools to help diverse small business owners from throughout Los Angeles County access capital, increase revenue, and decrease expenses.

The funds will support one-on-one technical assistance, educational workshops, affinity groups and diversity business huddles.

Small business owners are also taught how to do their own revenue projections and separate their personal finances from their business finances. Many small business owners have “bootstrapped” their businesses with their own finances so increased success of their small businesses improves the owners’ personal financial health by paying down debt, increasing their personal income, growing cash reserves and savings leading to greater financial health and stability.

As 2022 winds down, our hope at Wells Fargo is that we are creating solutions through our philanthropic efforts to build stronger communities. On behalf of all our employees who serve our San Fernando Valley customers, we thank you for allowing us to be an active part of the community.

Jack Olree is vice president, social impact for Wells Fargo.
Learn more at welcome.wf.com/impact.

 

 

 

 

 

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