WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wells Fargo awarded a $13.5M grant to the Expanding Black Business Credit (EBBC) initiative, a consortium that addresses the critical lending and wealth gaps faced by Black entrepreneurs and families in the U.S. The transformative donation will provide $10M in seed funding for a $78M Black Vision Fund.
The Fund will disburse loans and grants to help create economically vibrant and revitalized Black communities across the United States. EBBC will also enable its seven Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) members to provide immediate support to Black-owned businesses in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Deep South and Midwest regions that are distressed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This grant from Wells Fargo will help to accelerate the expansion of economic opportunity for Black communities,” said Bill Bynum, chair of the EBBC and CEO of Hope Enterprise Corporation. “In these unprecedented times, when trillions of dollars are being invested in economic stimulus, we must proactively invest in Black-owned businesses to prevent further widening of — and, eventually, close — the centuries-old racial wealth divide.”
CDFIs have a strong track record of providing capital and financial counsel to minority-owned small businesses and underbanked communities. Often, these community-based institutions, certified by the U.S. Treasury, step in when entrepreneurs are not able to access loans from traditional financial institutions. They foster growth for businesses, advance social mobility for families and spawn thriving communities.
“We are proud to partner with the Expanding Black Business Credit initiative to provide resources for Black-owned small businesses and Black communities, especially in this pivotal moment for our country,” said Jenny Flores, head of small business growth philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “CDFIs play an integral role in meeting necessary capital needs in communities that have the greatest promise and potential. By donating the gross processing fees from the Paycheck Protection Program back to the small business community, we aim to offer grants like this one as a catalyst for economic recovery, especially for those hardest hit by the pandemic.”
One key to closing the racial economic opportunity gap — and ending the persistent divide between Black and White Americans — is strengthening Black entrepreneurs, who play an outsized role in building stability and bolstering employment in Black communities. In 2019, 2.6 million Black-owned businesses supported 3.56 million jobs, generating $150 billion in revenue. Forty to 50% of the employees of these small businesses are Black.
Through its business, Wells Fargo supports more than 150 CDFIs of all sizes across the country, providing tailored investment and debt strategies to support CDFIs’ efforts in both rural and urban communities to finance affordable housing, community facilities and small and micro businesses.
About Expanding Black Business Credit (EBBC) Initiative
Formed in January 2016, EBBC’s mission is to create thriving business ecosystems that strengthen Black-owned small businesses, Black-led nonprofits and the seven Black-led/focused CDFIs that help them succeed. EBBC leverages its collective power to reduce systemic barriers and scale access to critical resources — money, management education and markets — needed to accelerate Black business growth and development. The network of seven CDFIs includes Black Business Investment Fund, City First Bank, Community First Fund Pennsylvania, Hope Enterprise Corporation/Credit Union, MEDA, National Community Investment Fund and Texas Mezzanine Fund.
About Wells Fargo & Company
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.98 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,400 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 31 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 263,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2020 rankings of America’s largest corporations.