WELLS FARGO CELEBRATES PASSING $500-MILLION MARK IN COMMUNITY SUPPORT IN WASHINGTON
SEATTLE — September 1, 1998
Wells Fargo marked its passing the $500-million mark in community investment and giving in Washington today with a celebration at the Hotel Monaco in downtown Seattle. Joining the celebration were local community groups, minority and women-owned small businesses, Seattle Mayor Paul Schell, King County Executive Ron Sims, and representatives from Seattle Public Schools, the Alliance for Education, and the University of Washington.
"Supporting our communities is, and always has been, part of our mission. So there are more than five-hundred million reasons why we're so proud to be here today," said Donovan Olson, a Wells Fargo senior vice president in Seattle. "We provide that support through investments in organizations that share our goals of improving Washington, through grants to schools and non-profit community organizations, and through loans to low and moderate-income residents and small businesses."
Since returning to this state in April 1996, Wells Fargo has donated and committed for community lending and investments $512,473,285 in Washington. The $512.4 million is part of two 10-year, 10-state pledges Wells Fargo made in 1996: to donate at least $300 million, and to commit $45 billion to improve its communities.
"We form partnerships within our communities to determine how we can best support their efforts," explained Grace Jeremia, a Wells Fargo vice president in Seattle. "We focus our support on public school education, as well as affordable housing, economic development and small-business and job-creation programs. This holistic approach to improving the quality of life in Washington helps people who are at all different stages of development in their lives."
At the celebration, Wells Fargo announced the following new community investments and grants totaling $485,000 for the Seattle area as an example of the financial commitment the company has made in Washington to improve the state:
- $250,000 investment in Cascadia Revolving Fund. Cascadia is a Seattle-based community development loan fund. It provides financing and technical assistance to entrepreneurs in Washington and Oregon. The $250,000 from Wells Fargo is the largest single bank investment made in Cascadia. The investment will enable Cascadia to make 50 to 75 loans to small businesses owners who do not yet qualify for traditional bank financing. Last year, Wells Fargo donated $30,000 to Cascadia.
- $110,000 grant to Seattle Public Schools and the Alliance for Education. The district will use $75,000 for its third annual Principal Leadership Institute (PLI); $25,000 for a new Volunteer Program Initiative; and $10,000 for the Alliance for Education's operations. Wells Fargo donated $200,000 in prior years to fund the first two Principal Leadership Institutes.
- $35,000 grant to Community Capital Development (CCD). This non-profit group fosters the growth of small businesses in the distressed communities of Seattle. The goal is to return these areas to economic health. Since its creation in September 1997, CCD has provided management and development assistance to 280 entrepreneurs and financing to 38 businesses. The group estimates this assistance will result in the creation of 167 jobs in the coming year.
- $35,000 grant to King County Jobs Initiative. One of the more difficult challenges faced by the working poor is affordable, quality child care. This job-creation program will use its grant to support current providers of child care to low-income families. Working in conjunction with Cascadia Revolving Loan Fund, this program will offer the providers financial and technical resources so they can care for more children by upgrading or expanding their facilities.
- $35,000 grant to the University of Washington Business School. The School of Business will allocate its grant to its Business and Economic Development Program. Students and alumni from the school join with corporate mentors to provide free guidance to small businesses in Seattle's economically distressed communities. During its first three years of operation, the program has helped 40 small businesses and five community development corporations in Seattle. This has led to the creation of more than 120 jobs. The program hopes to expand into Tacoma this year.
- $20,000 grant to Seattle Jobs Initiative. Started last year, this City of Seattle program works with local employers and community organizations to identify and train welfare recipients and low-income residents so they can obtain livable-wage jobs. The program has helped 1,140 persons enroll in job-training programs, which led to 823 of them finding jobs. One such effort is a 12-week teller training program that starts Sept. 21. This teller program will include paid internships and possible job placements in local Wells Fargo branches.
Seattle Jobs Initiative will use its grant this year to expand its services, which include English as a Second Language and Adult Basic Education instruction, child care referrals, transitional housing, and job-retention support (helping workers keep their jobs).
"The more than $512 million Wells Fargo has invested and given in Washington is only a beginning," added Bob Byrne, a Wells Fargo senior vice president in Seattle. "We sure don't intend to stop here. We will continue being an active, supportive partner of our communities. We look forward to developing additional partnerships with even more organizations that also strive to improve Washington."
Founded in 1852, Wells Fargo & Co. is the nation's 11th largest bank-holding company.