WASHINGTON, March 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) announced today that it will launch a series of events in markets across the country to share its commitment to the African American community. The events, invitation-only luncheons for area African American journalists, will begin during National Black Press Week in Washington, D.C.
As Wells Fargo and Wachovia Corporation transition to one company under the Wells Fargo brand, the company continues its strong investments in education, community development and economic initiatives for the area's African American community. Last year, Wells Fargo contributed $12 million to nonprofit organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Approximately $2.6 million of that amount has gone to programs specifically serving the African American Mid-Atlantic community.
In addition, Wells Fargo has focused on building stronger communities throughout the region by making $453.9 million in Community Reinvestment Act-qualified community development loans and investments for affordable housing, community services, and economic development in 2008.
In 2009, Wells Fargo donated $202 million to 18,000 nonprofits nationwide supporting education, community development, human services, the arts and the environment. This included more than $26 million to organizations specifically servicing the African American community.
Hill Harper, an award-winning actor and author, will serve as the special guest speaker at the March 15 Washington, D.C. media luncheon. Harper will talk about the importance of financial literacy and motivating both young people and adults to use financial education programs for achieving their goals.
Along with local Wells Fargo executives, he will discuss how financial tools such as those from Wells Fargo can help with wealth-building, money management, investing, and small business growth Harper is perhaps best known for his role as "Dr. Sheldon Hawkes" on CBS-TV's "CSI-NY" crime drama. He has also starred in many films and TV programs, and has written three motivational books. His Manifest Your Destiny (www.manifestyourdestiny.org) Web site is dedicated to highlighting topics such as financial empowerment for African Americans. He also participates in the United Negro College Fund's Empower Me tour sponsored by Wells Fargo.
"Wells Fargo and Wachovia are proud to support worthy education and community development activities for the Mid-Atlantic region's African American communities," said Pete Jones, Mid-Atlantic regional president for Wells Fargo. "We know that by building stronger communities, we contribute to the success of local businesses and organizations."
"As a company, we firmly believe that we can satisfy customers' financial needs and help them excel only if we also contribute to the long-term economic well-being of the areas we serve," said Michelle Thornhill, senior vice president and African American segment manager at Wells Fargo.
Wells Fargo also will discuss its position as number one lender to small businesses. In 2008, the company announced that it met its 12-year goal to lend $1 billion to African American small businesses – two years ahead of target. In 2008, the company expanded the goal to lend an additional $1 billion by 2018, totaling a cumulative $2 billion in lending to African American business owners.
"If we all work together, Wells Fargo is confident that we can help lead the local black community to better reach their financial goals, and enjoy living in more vibrant and thriving neighborhoods across the region, " said Georgette Dixon, senior vice president and director of Wells Fargo's national partnerships.
At the March 15 luncheon, Thornhill, Jones and Dixon will be joined by Brenda Ross-Dulan, Regional President for the Southern New Jersey market and national spokesperson for Wells Fargo's African American Business Services program.
Locally, Wells Fargo is quickly growing its presence with its 2008 merger with Wachovia Corporation. Currently, there are 408 Wachovia-branded banking stores in the Mid-Atlantic region. These stores will convert to the Wells Fargo brand in 2011. Together, the two companies employ more than 13,600 team members in the area.
Wells Fargo has received several honors in recognition of its commitment to diversity and corporate responsibility. The company was named the world's 14th most admired company by Fortune magazine (2009), one of the top 50 companies for diversity by Diversity Inc magazine (2002-2009), and one of the 100 "Best Corporate Citizens" by CRO (Corporate Responsibility Officer) magazine (2009). Wachovia was included on Diversity Inc magazine's "Top 50" list every year since 2003 and was four times named as one of the "25 Great Places for Black Women to Work" by Essence Magazine.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo is a diversified financial services company with $1.2 trillion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through more than 10,000 stores and 12,000 ATMS, and the internet (www.wellsfargo.com) across North America and internationally. The Company promotes economic growth and self-sufficiency, education, social services, the arts and the environment in thousands of communities across North America. In 2009, the Company gave $202 million in grants to 18,000 nonprofits. The merger of Wells Fargo and Wachovia makes our presence twice as strong in the communities we serve. For more about Wells Fargo's achievements in Social Responsibility: www.wellsfargo.com/about/csr.
SOURCE Wells Fargo