On October 23, 2018, Wells Fargo & Company announced that—over the next five years—it will commit over $1.6 billion in lending and philanthropy focused entirely on helping to revitalize Washington, DC neighborhoods.
In an effort to unlock more economic opportunity across the city, Wells Fargo created the Where We Live program, in collaboration with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) and local organizations. The program will triple Wells Fargo’s community giving and concentrate resources on the biggest needs identified by community leaders: affordable housing, small business growth and job skills.
“Communities succeed when we all work together,” said Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan. “The Where We Live program is rooted in two things: investments that help people live, work and thrive, and a deep understanding that neighborhoods need long-term partners. It builds on Wells Fargo’s legacy of empowering residents and small businesses in our nation’s capital for the past 100 years, and our desire to create a compelling community investment model in Washington, DC.”
“This is an important step by Wells Fargo to expand its investment in the District, and to listen and work more closely with community groups,” said John Taylor, President and Founder of NCRC. “Expanding access to mortgage and small business loans is essential to closing the wealth gap. Lenders need to listen and focus on the needs of the communities where they do business. It’s heartening to see Wells Fargo strengthen its commitment to do just that.”
Wells Fargo developed Where We Live to harness the power of its broad lending and community investment capabilities for greater impact, with emphasis in Ward 7 and Ward 8. The company worked with NCRC — an advocacy organization championing fairness in banking, housing and business — as well as local housing, small business and nonprofits leaders to design Where We Live.
In addition, Wells Fargo team members will work alongside community leaders on Where We Live over the five-year project. Wells Fargo has been in Washington, DC, since 1914, with its first location on G Street, Northwest. Since then, local investments in the District have included support for education, the arts, and neighborhood revitalization, among other community needs.
Wells Fargo’s new commitment includes a five-year, $16 million philanthropic commitment that more than triples Wells Fargo’s local giving, with a specific focus on Ward 7 and Ward 8. This philanthropy includes $4 million for Community Development Financial Institutions to grow the small business community and $6 million for nonprofit housing initiatives like down payment assistance and development of affordable rental properties.
As part of Where We Live, four organizations are among the first to receive funding:
- DC Central Kitchen, $150,000. Wells Fargo will sponsor a class of trainees and support the kitchen’s youth job training center and retail café in Ward 8, where residents can learn job skills and real-life work experience. The project focuses on empowering youth who have become disconnected from work and school to pursue promising hospitality careers.
- SOME (So Others May Eat), $100,000. Homeless families enter this housing program with little income and minimal financial management knowledge. Residents will work with on-site case managers to create plans that outline financial, professional and personal objectives. Goals include increasing savings, reducing debt, securing and maintaining employment or completing job training.
- Washington Area Community Investment Fund, $125,000. This nonprofit community loan fund’s mission is to increase equity and economic opportunity in underserved communities by investing knowledge, social, and financial capital in low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs.
- MANNA, Inc., $125,000. This affordable housing nonprofit helps low- and moderate-income individuals secure high-quality housing. Wells Fargo support includes development funding for MANNA’s Hunter Place project in Southeast Washington and homebuyer counseling.
Loans and equity investments totaling more than $1.5 billion. Wells Fargo is pledging to maintain or grow market leader commitments in home lending, small business lending and community lending and investment over five years. For example, the Parkway Overlook (pictured at top) redevelopment in Ward 8 is one of the early Where We Live projects to tap $90 million in lending and equity investments from Wells Fargo to convert an abandoned housing complex into 220 affordable rental units.
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition and its 600 grassroots member organizations create opportunities for people to build wealth. NCRC works with community leaders, policymakers and financial institutions to champion fairness in banking, housing and business.
Rendering of Parkway Overlook project courtesy of EDG Architects LLC.