DES MOINES, IA - Wells Fargo's Housing Foundation announced today grants totaling $5 million to nonprofit housing organizations in 34 communities. The grants, coupled with help from Wells Fargo volunteers, are part of the company's Leading the Way Home® Priority Markets program, a nationwide effort to increase the availability of affordable housing.
Source: Wells Fargo
"We are committed to helping communities grow and thrive," said Jon R. Campbell, head of Wells Fargo's Social Responsibility Group. "Priority Markets grants help cities and nonprofit partners complete building and renovation projects in distressed areas so they can stabilize those neighborhoods, as well as stimulate long-term economic growth. The time and talents of our team members who will volunteer to help with these projects will extend our investment in these communities even further."
Earlier this year, Wells Fargo donated an additional $8 million to Habitat for Humanity International for its Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative to construct, repair and rehabilitate affordable housing for low-income families in markets hit hard by foreclosures. Wells Fargo is one of the largest corporate sources of volunteers for Habitat projects. Many of the Habitat projects, as well as those funded with Priority Markets grants, include "green" and energy-efficient upgrades, providing further cost savings to homeowners.
The Wells Fargo Priority Markets grants will go to organizations in Phoenix; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Des Moines; Boise; Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo.; Charlotte; Greensboro; Omaha; Camden and Newark, N.J.; Las Vegas; Cleveland; Portland; Memphis; Tacoma; and Milwaukee, as well as four cities in Florida (Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach, and Tampa), three cities in Texas (Dallas, El Paso, and Fort Worth) and nine in California (East Palo Alto, Fresno, Los Angeles, Modesto, Riverside-San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, and Stockton).
Grant recipients were selected in a competitive process from requests submitted by local Wells Fargo teams and their nonprofit or local government partners in markets needing special assistance with large-scale neighborhood development projects.
"From the beginning of the housing crisis, we have joined with numerous communities and organizations to help preserve and advance homeownership, assist struggling homeowners, and help stabilize communities hard hit by foreclosures," said Cara Heiden, co-president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. "From January 2009 through August 2010, Wells Fargo has helped more than 2.3 million households with mortgage payment relief through its refinancing and modification programs."
Other Leading the Way Home efforts include:
Home retention efforts — Wells Fargo holds Home Preservation Workshops in distressed markets across the country. At these events, loan servicing specialists speak with customers confidentially about their financing options and provide modifications, when possible, on the spot. In addition, 27 Home Preservation Centers have been established in markets hardest hit by foreclosures.
Education — Volunteers educate customers about home buying, credit management, mortgage products and the responsibilities of homeownership using Hands on Banking® lessons and home-buying workshops.
Community partnerships — Provide grants to nonprofits to support foreclosure counseling, down payment assistance programs, financial and homebuyer education, as well as construction, renovation and rehabilitation of affordable housing.
Transfer of foreclosed properties for redevelopment — Wells Fargo was the first mortgage servicer to partner with the National Community Stabilization Trust (NCST) to assist local governments and nonprofits in acquiring foreclosed properties for redevelopment. Wells Fargo's Housing Foundation, in partnership with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, also donates foreclosed properties, or offers such properties at a reduced price, for redevelopment and resale. In addition to properties transferred through NCST, Wells Fargo has discounted or donated more than 2,000 properties to nonprofit organizations and government entities in 2009 and 2010.
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.2 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com and wachovia.com), and other distribution channels 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. In 2009, the Company gave $202 million in grants to 18,000 nonprofits, and team members contributed more than 1.23 million volunteer hours around the country. For more about Wells Fargo's achievements in Social Responsibility.