Conservation AcquisitionBusiness Partnerships

Investing in Diverse Communities

wf-rgb-highlight-62pxWells Fargo, one of the nation’s largest financial institutions, came from humble beginnings as a small regional bank serving its neighbors and supporting its community. Throughout its growth and success, that sense of community has remained at the heart of Wells Fargo’s values. Wells Fargo collaborated with The Conservation Fund to strengthen local communities where its customers and team members live and work.

Challenges

  • Reach diverse communities and disadvantaged business owners across the country.
  • Provide support that yields social, economic and environmental benefits.

Solutions in North Carolina

Through its Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital (DCC) program, aimed at serving diverse-owned small businesses, Wells Fargo provided $1.6 million in loan and grant funds to the Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF), an affiliate of The Conservation Fund that provides lending and advisory services to locally-owned green enterprises in disadvantaged communities in Central Appalachia and the Southeast. Funding from Wells Fargo will help African-American farmers and small business owners increase access to financial resources, diversify their enterprises and build greater financial stability, resulting in stronger local communities and the responsible use of natural resources.

“NCIF recognizes that the growth and success of diverse businesses focused on triple bottom line results is good for communities, our economy and the environment. We're thrilled to be recognized by and partner with Wells Fargo to grow the next generation of African-American and minority entrepreneurs.”
                                                                                                       
Marten Jenkins, President and CEO, Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF)   
 

Results in North Carolina

The Wells Fargo DCC program will help people like James Joyner of Faison, North Carolina, a disabled African-American U.S. Army veteran who transformed his family farm from a labor of love to a profitable enterprise. NCIF helped him develop financial projections for his business and connected him with an innovative North Carolina company that enables him to graze his herd of sheep on solar farms and helps market his lamb. NCIF'S loan helped Joyner expand his herd, upgrade pastures and fencing, and build a lambing shed. Today, Joyner’s farm is profitable, and he sells his grass-fed, antibiotic-free lamb to a well-known national organic and natural foods grocery chain.

“Wells Fargo is proud to support NCIF and the work they are doing. Investing in our communities is one of the most important things we can do as a company and directly connects with our vision and values. At Wells Fargo, we believe that we’re responsible for promoting the long-term economic prosperity and quality of life for everyone in our communities. If they prosper, so do we.”

– Jack Clayton, Piedmont East Regional President for Wells Fargo

NCIF
The Roger Outlaw farm is funded by the ShadeFund – a project of the The Conservation Fund’s Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF). In May 2016, Wells Fargo provided $1.6 million to NCIF.  As a result, we will expand access to lending and business advisory services for African American farmers and small business owners, primarily in Eastern North Carolina. 

Solutions in Alaska

In Alaska, Wells Fargo and The Conservation Fund collaborated to support Native communities. Here, Wells Fargo donated 143 acres of culturally and historically significant land adjacent to the Native Village of Eklutna to the Fund for permanent preservation. The donation was part of Wells Fargo’s Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program.

“This land is the centerpiece of an ongoing effort to protect and restore the lands and waters of great cultural and environmental value to the Eklutna people. We are pleased to work with Wells Fargo and Eklutna, Inc., and we applaud the corporate leadership and community appreciation for this wonderful and important conservation accomplishment.”

Larry Selzer, President and CEO, The Conservation Fund

Results in Alaska

Approximately 25 miles northeast of Anchorage, the land donated by Wells Fargo preserves the way of life of Native people. Situated in the heart of Dena’ina Athabascan country where Alaska Native people have lived for thousands of years, this culturally and historically significant land remains a place for traditional subsistence activities such as hunting, fishing, and berry picking. Hills on the property are also revered as sacred grounds where ancestors’ ashes are spread, and a unique granite formation on the land was the inspiration for the Native village’s name. Its permanent preservation honors the legacy of the Native people and helps future generations cultivate a connection to the land and their ancestral identity.

“When we got the word…we were thrilled and filled with such emotion that it took several days for the news to sink in. We are grateful for the vision and respect shown by Wells Fargo toward the Dena’ina people.”
 
                          – Curtis McQueen, CEO, Eklutna, Inc.

Eklutna
The Native Village of Eklutna is situated 25 miles northeast of Anchorage, AK and lies in the heart of Dena’ina Athabascan country. Alaska Native people have lived in Eklutna for thousands of years and the local hills are revered as sacred grounds where their ancestors’ ashes are spread. Wells Fargo donated 143 acres of land adjacent to the Native Village of Eklutna to The Conservation Fund for permanent land and habitat preservation. 

Looking Forward

From remote tribal lands in Alaska to rural farms in Appalachia, our long-standing relationship with Wells Fargo advances conservation at the local level for a greater impact. We will continue to help Wells Fargo find new ways to invest in diverse communities that pay big dividends for our society, our economy and our environment.