25 Feb Wells Fargo Donates $20 Million to Strengthen Small Businesses in Miami-Dade County
The Miami Foundation receives its largest-ever grant; will enable diverse entrepreneurs to own more of their businesses
MIAMI– February 25, 2022 – Wells Fargo announced today a $20 million grant to The Miami Foundation, the nonprofit’s largest grant received to date, to help historically disadvantaged small business owners own more of their businesses’ assets and improve technology to better serve customers. The Miami Foundation plans to use the funding to support diverse small businesses and nonprofits through a combination of capital and technical assistance.
The donation comes from Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund, a roughly $420 million national small business recovery effort with a focus on racially and ethnically diverse small business owners, who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The fund was created from the gross processing fees that Wells Fargo received from Paycheck Protection Program loans made in 2020. Wells Fargo has donated funds to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and local nonprofits across the nation.
“Fostering an inclusive economic recovery and helping small businesses sustain themselves and grow in the wake of COVID-19 is a priority for us,” said Charlie Scharf, Wells Fargo’s CEO. “As a company, we have a commitment to make the communities where we operate stronger, and to do it at a very local level. Today’s donation is one of the largest we’ve made from the Open for Business Fund, and we know it will make a difference for small business owners here in Miami.”
“Minority-led small businesses and nonprofits are vital to the strength of our region,” said Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “This is a transformational investment from Wells Fargo that builds upon the Foundation’s commitment to racial equity. It will help create generational wealth and support a stable future for diverse small businesses as we work to foster a strong, equitable, and thriving Greater Miami, which is at the core of our Foundation’s mission.”
“Small businesses are not just a factor for Miami’s sustained success, they’re a necessity,” said City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. “Wells Fargo’s $20 million donation to The Miami Foundation will invest in minority-owned businesses at the ground level—giving equity back to the business owners who have kept our city up and running throughout the pandemic.”
“Miami-Dade is a small-business economy, and it has been a priority for my administration to invest in small business innovation and support a diverse business community,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “We are thankful to Wells Fargo for this momentous donation that, managed through the excellent team at The Miami Foundation, will be a game changer for small businesses striving to succeed in the new economy and be future-ready.”
“As the daughter of a small business owner and civil rights activist, I commend Wells Fargo for its commitment to fostering racial equity in the space of entrepreneurship,” said Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson. “Small and minority-owned businesses have served as a beacon of opportunity in Miami-Dade County, strengthening our overall economy, and this $20 million grant to The Miami Foundation provides for a long overdue investment in our region’s diverse small business community.”
The Miami Foundation will leverage its relationships with community stakeholders and small business development organizations to conduct outreach and provide funding to small businesses and nonprofits in Miami-Dade County. The Foundation will also convene a diverse advisory council to help inform strategic program design and disbursement of capital. For more information on the program, visit www.miamifoundation.org/miamiopenforbusiness.
“We started our small business about 22 years ago with the desire to uplift and protect our local artists by creating a space that was not just a dance company, but a support network and a home for diverse, talented artists,” said Alexandra Sliva, business owner and artistic director of local entertainment company New Century Dance Company, which obtained free legal expertise from Legal Services of Greater Miami, a prior Open for Business Fund grantee. “We are working toward the goal of further protecting our intellectual property, small business and artists. This kind of strategic planning is invaluable to our long-term success.”
Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund has previously supported South Florida small businesses through grants to Florida International University’s StartUP FIU Food, The Urban League of Broward County’s Community Central County Development Corporation, the Black Business Investment Fund of Florida (BBIF), and others. Legal Services of Greater Miami also received an Open for Business Fund grant to help provide free legal services to local entrepreneurs in South Florida.
On a national basis, Open for Business Fund grantees are estimated to reach more than 152,000 small business owners, helping to maintain an estimated 255,000 jobs. Roughly 85% of small businesses served by grantees are projected to be Black, African American, Hispanic, Asian American, and Native American small business owners. Wells Fargo also offers a Small Business Resource Center where entrepreneurs can explore business planning, financing considerations, and practical advice.