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Wells Fargo awarding millions to Charlotte organizations to advance economic mobility, improve racial equity

Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 6:07 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Wells Fargo was joined by a lineup of special guests to make a huge announcement of millions in grants to be awarded to various organizations in Charlotte Wednesday.

In an event at Johnson C. Smith University, it was revealed that Wells Fargo is awarding $3.2 million in grants to various organizations to help them advance economic mobility, improve racial equity and support minority owned businesses and the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Johnson C. Smith University was awarded $1 million that will focus on minority student scholarships, experiential learning and more. The United Way of Central Carolinas was also awarded $1 million to support economic mobility for low income neighborhoods.

“It is evident that HBCU’s play a critical role in the advancement of economic mobility for many Black Americans not just here in Charlotte but across the nation. Now more than ever as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson C. Smith University’s importance as Charlotte’s only HBCU is undeniable,” said Clay Armbrister, Johnson C. Smith University’s president.

The remaining grants are being awarded to the small business resource center at Central Piedmont Community College along with multiple minority-owned businesses and nonprofits.

The Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte along with non-profit Prospera will be using the grant money to support Latinx business owners and entrepreneurs.

“This funding that Wells Fargo’s pouring into us we’re pouring that back into our community through our entrepreneurial hub that we’re launching this fall,” said Gris Bailey the President and CEO of The Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte.

Bailey says the hub’s purpose will be to meet each business owner where they are in their journey and making sure they have the necessary resources as they start and continue their business.

“We go from the starting phase if that’s where they are that’s where we meet them to the professionalizing phase where they’re building roots in the community and then to the scaling phase,” she said.

The United Way of Central Carolinas was also a recipient of the Wells Fargo Community Impact Fund will support economic mobility for low income neighborhoods and advancing racial equity via Unite Charlotte.

“It will also help address the root causes of poverty and advance racial equity through continued funding of Unite Charlotte and United Neighborhoods - both initiatives designed to empower families and build stronger communities,” said Laura Clark, the United Way of Central Carolinas President and CEO.

The announcement event happened at Biddle Memorial Hall on the Johnson C. Smith University campus on Beatties Ford Road.

Event speakers include Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf, various elected officials and leaders from the organizations receiving grants.

Among those elected officials were North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles and North Carolina Congresswoman Alma Adams.

Other speakers included President of Johnson C. Smith University Clarence “Clay” D. Armbrister, President of United Way of Central Carolinas Laura Clark and Wells Fargo Consumer Banking Executive Michelle Lee.

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