The Wells Fargo Foundation has announced grants totaling $17.4 million in support of community development financial institutions (CDFIs).
Awarded though the foundation's Diverse Community Capital program, the grants will support CDFI efforts to improve access to capital, launch mentoring programs and expand their geographic reach, and help preserve more than fifty thousand local jobs. Recipients include Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs in Atlanta, which will use its grant to launch a new collaboration with the Morehouse College Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center and expand an existing in-house development program for women entrepreneurs; the Community First Fund in Philadelphia, which will increase the capital available to African-American and Latinx small business owners; Grameen America, which will expand its microlending program to Los Angeles, Fresno, San Antonio, and Dallas with the goal of boosting the number of low-income women entrepreneurs who start or expand businesses; the California-based Opportunity Fund, which will launch an Inclusive Lending Platform with the goal of originating more than sixteen thousand loans and investing more than $600 million in minority-owned businesses by 2022; and the Phoenix-based Raza Development Fund, which will enhance its services and technical assistance for entrepreneurs in the region, with a focus on growth-stage companies.
"Empowering small businesses is a direct and impactful way to stimulate job growth," said Wells Fargo Foundation president Brandee McHale. "Wells Fargo's Diverse Community Capital program lifts up underserved small business owners with financing and important technical assistance. By working with CDFIs, we can reach into neighborhoods to find those entrepreneurs who want to build a legacy for their families and the wider community."