By Alice Juarez, Wells Fargo
In July, Wells Fargo announced the launch of its new Open for Business Fund, an approximately $400 million small business recovery effort to help America’s entrepreneurs reopen and rebuild.
As we head into the New Year, we are excited to share that Pacific Coast Regional and Genesis LA, local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), will collectively receive $2.6 million from the fund to help Los Angeles County small business owners navigate the economic impacts of COVID-19.
Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund is another avenue of support that enlists the expertise of nonprofit organizations like Pacific Coast Regional and Genesis LA to urgently help small businesses recover and preserve the jobs they provide in our Los Angeles County communities.
“Across Southern California, we’ve seen economic disparities among Black and Brown communities widened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. With this substantial donation from Wells Fargo, we can purposefully target these communities with vital grants, loans, coaching and the technical assistance needed to end the disparities around business ownership, job creation, and the development of generational wealth,” said Mark Robertson, president and CEO of Pacific Coast Regional Corporation. “PCR could not be more grateful for Wells Fargo’s support of our vision for a program specific to the needs of African American and Latinx businesses.”
The Open for Business Fund builds on Wells Fargo’s daily commitment to small business customers and other small business growth initiatives, including the $175 million Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital program and investing $50 million in Black-owned Minority Depository Institutions.
In 2020, the Wells Fargo Foundation contributed $9 million to bolster COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts in L.A. County. More than 170 nonprofits received grant funding to help address housing needs, support small businesses, and provide emergency response aid for the county’s most impacted populations.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO ‘SHOP LOCAL’ DURING THE HOLIDAYS
More than 30 million small businesses serve communities around the country. They are often the heartbeat of local neighborhoods — and they have experienced the brunt of the pandemic’s economic impact. From local restaurants serving holiday meals to retailers making candy canes and children’s toys, many of their efforts may help brighten the holiday season in a year where hope and kindness go far.
Please remember to shop locally and encourage others to do so whenever possible. By working together, we can help save businesses and the jobs they provide.
Alice Juarez is region bank president for Wells Fargo’s Foothill Valley region. In this role, she oversees nearly 1,220 community banking team members across 76 branches in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.