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Wells Fargo Commits $50 Million to American Indian/Alaska Native Communities

November 29, 2017

Company to significantly increase annual philanthropic giving to American Indian/Alaska Native communities over five years, launches company-wide initiative to better serve Indian Country

 

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) today announced a five-year, $50 million commitment to American Indian/Alaska Native communities to help address their unique economic, social and environmental needs. The company will expand philanthropy programs, work to improve products and services to meet the financial and banking requirements of the American Indian/Alaska Native community, and help create a greater awareness of American Indian/Alaska Native culture, history and contributions.

 

“We are only as successful as the communities in which we work,” said Tim Sloan, Wells Fargo CEO. “Our longstanding relationships with tribal governments and American Indian/Alaska Native customers are a point of tremendous pride at Wells Fargo. I am pleased to be able to make this announcement on behalf of our 268,000 team members as part of Native American Heritage Month.”

 

The bulk of the financial commitment will be devoted to philanthropy aligned with the concerns raised by consulted tribal stakeholders during the development of the commitment and Wells Fargo’s 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility focus areas.

 

  • · Environmental sustainability: renewable energy projects and clean water programs.
  • · Economic empowerment: down payment assistance and other programs to advance homeownership; affordable housing development; capacity building for Community Development Financial Institutions serving small businesses in Indian Country and asset-building programs that are helping individual tribal members create wealth through matched savings and other mechanisms; customized financial capability curriculum; and post-secondary education programs and scholarships.
  • · Diversity and social inclusion: leadership and career development training; cultural awareness and language preservation programs.

 

The $50 million commitment will also fund the expansion of dedicated resources at Wells Fargo for tribal advocacy and community outreach, including the hiring of a business-relationship manager who will focus entirely on the American Indian/Alaska Native market segment. This individual will work closely with Wells Fargo's National Tribal Advocate, Cora Gaane, and a cross-functional advisory council that will identify and seek to address challenges within American Indian/Alaska Native communities through Wells Fargo’s business and operations, stakeholder and community engagement, policy and philanthropy.

 

Wells Fargo has been serving American Indian/Alaska Native governments and communities for more than 50 years and currently provides capital and financial services to more than 200 tribal entities in 27 states, including tribal community development projects. In 2016, the company developed and published an Indigenous Peoples Statement in consultation with tribal leaders, indigenous stakeholders and their representatives, to help guide Wells Fargo’s decision making for projects where proceeds of Wells Fargo financing may potentially impact American Indian, Alaska Native or other indigenous communities. Wells Fargo leaders consulted some of its American Indian/Alaska Native business relationships to develop and vet the commitment it is announcing today.

 

“Wells Fargo is taking meaningful steps to ensure the bank is more responsive to the Native communities they serve,” said Cristina Danforth, President of the Native American Financial Officers Association. “Aligning staff to better understand our needs and making a significant financial commitment to nonprofits serving Indian Country builds on Wells Fargo’s policy approach and its adoption of the Indigenous Peoples Statement to consider and honor indigenous communities’ cultural and environmental concerns. This comprehensive approach is a model we would like to see adopted by more financial institutions in Indian Country.”

 

“Wells Fargo appreciates the engagement we have had with our tribal customers over more than 50 years, and we respect the sovereignty of their nations,” said Jon Campbell, head of Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations at Wells Fargo. “In the past few years, through dialogue with various tribal leaders and tribal members, we have learned a great deal about the specific needs and challenges faced by many of our stakeholders. With the commitment we announce today, we intend to help address some of those challenges in partnership with American Indian/Alaska Native leaders, governments and tribal nonprofit organizations in ways that are intentional, relevant and inclusive.”

 

Wells Fargo will announce national grant recipients beginning in the first quarter of 2018. Community-based, local 501(c)(3) organizations serving the American Indian/Alaska Native communities can continue to apply for grants through our online tool.

 

“Wells Fargo’s substantial new investment in Indian Country in these three critical areas is a promising development for tribal nations and communities,” said Jefferson Keel, President of the National Congress of Americans. “We hope that it signals a fresh start towards a new partnership between Wells Fargo and Indian Country, one that understands the needs and priorities of tribal nations and respects their inherent rights as sovereign governments.”

 

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