Wells Fargo is launching a $400 million fund to donate PPP fees to small businesses, primarily to those that are minority-owned.
As the pandemic continues to have far-reaching impacts across the country, Wells Fargo has recognized how Indian Country is confronted with a host of unique challenges to sustain Native communities and businesses. As such, the bank has increased its efforts to support Native American/Alaska Native communities, as well as other minority groups.
On July 9th, Wells Fargo announced a small business recovery effort that will benefit minority-owned non-profit organizations and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) supporting small business owners. The bank committed in April to donating all gross processing fees for arranging Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s program to help small businesses impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keep their doors open, retain employees, and rebuild. The lender facilitated upwards of 179,000 PPP loans through June 30, generating about $400 million in associated fees.
Through its new Open for Business Fund, Wells Fargo will engage nonprofits to provide capital, technical support, and long-term resiliency programs to small businesses with an emphasis on those that are minority-owned businesses. The initiative will open a new avenue for nonprofits to deliver capital, training, and long-term recovery efforts to diverse entrepreneurs who see a long road ahead.
The initial grant cycle accepts applications through August 7th. Approximately $28 million will be allocated to CDFIs serving racially and ethnically diverse small businesses, according to Wells Fargo’s statement. Funds will be allocated this year, in 2021 and into 2022.
Additionally, since the onset of the pandemic, Wells Fargo has donated $1 million across more than 20 nonprofit organizations. That aid centers on food security, health care services and rental assistance, including across Tribal communities. And in May, Wells Fargo announced $600,000 in grants to Tribal housing programs via the Native American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC). This funding will be used to make urgent repairs to senior-owned homes in 21 Tribal communities.