OVERVIEW: Wells Fargo's philanthropy (which appears to come both directly from the company and through the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation) supports a wide swath of needs, including education, housing, community development, the environment, and arts and culture. Specific focus areas and agendas vary by state and region.
IP TAKE: Functionally speaking, Wells Fargo's giving is subdivided by state, and sometimes also by region within a particular state. Of the 44 states where the foundation gives, virtually all of them place K-12 education squarely on their agenda.
PROFILE: Wells Fargo has reported tens of millions of dollars in education giving annually in recent years. This figure encompasses everything from pre-K through college, since the foundation gives to that whole spectrum, but it also surely includes K-12 support as a substantial chunk of that total.
Well Fargo’s education giving is allotted to the 44 states (plus the District of Columbia) included in its Community Investment program. In terms of determining your eligibility, there’s a map on the Community Investment home page linked above that will let you know, but in short, support is available in every state except Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and West Virginia.
For every state with Wells Fargo giving, K-12 support is somewhere on the agenda. Most of the time, it’s an explicit category of giving, with common directives including goals such as:
- “Promote academic achievement for low- and moderate-income students with a priority emphasis on K-12”
- “Provide training for teachers and administrators working with low- and moderate-income students”
- “Encourage school partnerships with parents and guardians, the local community, and the business community”
- “Work to eliminate the pre-K – 12th grade achievement gap in public education through curriculum-based or school-sponsored programs”
Keep in mind that the above is not an exhaustive list, so you will need to review the objectives for your state.
There are a few states and regions don’t specifically articulate K-12 support, but may make it available through other giving areas. Typically, this is expressed in the state or region’s work in “Economic Development” or “Community Development,” with K-12 education often framed as “youth work readiness.”
Wells Fargo hubs very often also engage in Human Resources, Arts and Culture, Civic Engagement, and the Environment, so if your K-12 education plan integrates into one of these other topic areas, so much the better.
Just as giving priorities are determined by state and region, so too is the application process. Most are executed online, but some states require a paper proposal that you bring to your nearest Wells Fargo location. Each state, and sometimes each region within, has its own program officers. They all also do a good job answering FAQs, dispensing contact information, and sharing their deadlines.
Needless to say, checking out the foundation’s Community Investment search engine for your state is a necessity. There is a lot of grant money to be had here for K-12 programs; just be sure to tailor you application to the structure articulated by your state/region.
Tim Hanlon, President