Mario P. Diaz, Wells Fargo Foundation

TITLE: Vice President

FUNDING AREAS: Community development, education, human services

CONTACT: diazm@wellsfargo.com, 415-623-7598

IP TAKE: Although they aren't specific Wells Fargo program areas, Diaz is extremely passionate about Latino, gay, and animal causes. Try to weave these aspects into your proposal to catch his attention. If you can't, make sure that your proposal revolves around education.

PROFILE: Talk about career dedication. Mario P. Diaz has been punching the clock at financial giant, Wells Fargo, since 1989. But unlike most guys in the financial services industry, he's more about giving than receiving. From 1996 to 2002, Diaz managed the Bay Area community's contribution program for Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, and Alameda counties. He ventured out to lead volunteer activities for the Los Angeles and Orange County regions in 2003, but promptly returned home that same year to pick up where he left off.

Diaz, a second generation Californian with Mexican heritage, has called the Bay Area home since 1976. Wells Fargo operates a huge nation-wide grantmaking program, but San Francisco is where it's at, as far as Diaz is concerned. The foundation's California program focuses on affordable housing, job training, and economic development through its community development program. It focuses on low and moderate income level students through its education program and on health care and health education through its human services program.

Coming from an immigrant family, Diaz is passionate about supporting Latino causes through his work and volunteering in his spare time. As an openly gay man, Diaz is is equally passionate about supporting LGBT organizations. He's also a personal supporter of environmental animal-friendly causes. He's picked up gardening as a hobby and believes in a positive work-life balance, complete with great friends, good movies, and relaxation. Although none of these are specific grantmaking categories at Wells Fargo, they undoubtedly impact Diaz' priorities on the job.

Diaz has been deeply immersed in the philanthropy industry for many years now, and he's gotten involved in an impressive number of advisory boards along the way. He's served for the Academy of Friends, USCF AIDS Health Project, Latino Community Foundation, Mexican-American Museum, Bay Area Gardeners Foundation, and Latino Culinary Academy, just to name a few. He's also collected his fair share of community development and collaboration awards along the way too.

When asked about his passions in an interview with the Latino Community Foundation, Diaz stated that, “Education is a number one priority. Animal and land conservation issues are becoming more of a focus for me as well.” For grantseekers, this should be a red flag to weave educational components into any proposal you decide to send Wells Fargo's way.

So specifically, what is Diaz looking for in a proposal? Well, he's not shy about reminding you to include your organization's contact information and address it to the correct program officer. He contributed this and other grantmaking wisdom in a book titled Grant Proposal Makeover: Transform Your Request from No to Yes. In the book, he advises grantseekers to not overwhelm their proposals with statistics, but rather include these figures to subtly back up your project need. He also wants your budget to include program stipends, dedicated staff time, materials needed, and other pending funding sources you may have.

To learn more about Wells Fargo's grantmaking program in the Bay Area, review the program guidelines and application instructions on the foundation website.