Wells Fargo & Company has announced a five-year, $50 million commitment to help address the economic, social, and environmental needs of American Indian/Alaska Native communities.
The commitment includes an expansion of the bank's corporate philanthropy programs, improvements to its products and services in order to better meet the financial and banking requirements of American Indian/Alaska Native communities, and support for efforts aimed at increasing awareness of American Indian/Alaska Native culture, history, and contributions. Based on concerns raised by tribal stakeholders, the commitment will focus on providing support in three areas — environmental sustainability, including renewable energy and clean water projects; economic empowerment, including down payment assistance, capacity building for community development financial institutions, and support for financial and postsecondary education initiatives; and diversity and social inclusion, including leadership and career development training as well as cultural awareness and language preservation programs.
The commitment also will fund the expansion of dedicated bank resources in support of tribal advocacy and community outreach initiatives, including the hiring of a business-relationship manager who will be focused solely on the American Indian/Alaska Native market segment. A first round of grants will be announced in early 2018.
"Wells Fargo's substantial new investment in Indian Country in these three critical areas is a promising development for tribal nations and communities," said Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of Americans. "We hope that it signals a fresh start towards a new partnership between Wells Fargo and Indian Country, one that understands the needs and priorities of tribal nations and respects their inherent rights as sovereign governments."
(Photo credit: Wells Fargo & Company)