On June 17, OFN announced that Wells Fargo is committing a $25 million grant to the Finance Justice Fund to help tackle systemic barriers to capital for small businesses in communities around the country. Managed by OFN, the Finance Justice Fund aims to address the racial wealth gap and persistent poverty by delivering financing through CDFIs to Black, Latinx, Native, rural, and other communities underserved by the financial system.
“Wells Fargo’s historic grant contribution sets a precedent for organizations seeking to make an impact in low-income and underserved communities. CDFIs can offer the highest impact programs when debt capital is coupled with grants that enable them to build their capacity and net assets. This grant means that CDFIs will be able to go deeper into their communities to serve more individuals and neighborhoods,” said Lisa Mensah, president and CEO of OFN.
“Growing small businesses, supporting affordable housing developers, and revitalizing economic corridors enrich communities for the long term,” said Bill Daley, vice chairman of Public Affairs at Wells Fargo. “We’ve long understood the expertise of CDFIs having engaged OFN through our Diverse Community Capital program and now with our Open for Business Fund. The Finance Justice Fund is a natural evolution of our deep collaboration with OFN and appreciation for the role CDFIs play in the economy.”
Wells Fargo joins Twitter as a supporter of the Finance Justice Fund. In November 2020, Twitter became the first investor in the fund, committing $100 million in debt capital and $1 million in grant capital to address long-standing issues of disinvestment, the racial wealth gap, and persistent poverty nationwide. To date, the Finance Justice Fund has closed loans with six CDFIs, totaling $20.5 million, in addition to disbursing grants to four CDFIs, totaling $800,000.