Wells Fargo Donates $100 Million in Support of People with Disabilities
Original Article by Matt Wadley | Wells Fargo | July 23, 2019
When Kathy Martinez joined Wells Fargo in 2015 to oversee a renewed effort by the company to support people with disabilities and their families, she knew Wells Fargo’s resources and relationships could significantly improve the lives of millions of Americans.
“I was impressed with Wells Fargo’s focus on diversity and inclusion, and specifically its commitment to serve consumers and team members with disabilities,” said Martinez, head of Disability and Accessibility Strategy at Wells Fargo. “This has served as the foundation for expanding those opportunities for people with disabilities and improving their ability to succeed financially.”
Now, just four years later, Wells Fargo has donated more than $100 million to nonprofits serving people with disabilities. These grant dollars — made to organizations like National Disability Institute, National Federation of the Blind, and Communication Service for the Deaf — have sought to help improve financial education and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Martinez, who is blind, said the monetary milestone is of particular significance, given the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26.
“The country has made a lot of progress since the enactment of the ADA in 1990, but there is still a lot of work to do,” said Martinez, who previously served as assistant secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy for the U.S. Department of Labor. “Wells Fargo plans to do its part and more. The company is committed to serving and supporting customers and team members with disabilities through accessible properties and services, career opportunities and accommodations, and strategic nonprofit donations.”
In addition to philanthropic support, Wells Fargo is committed to recruiting and retaining people with disabilities and providing work accommodations. Today, the company employs more than 8,000 team members who self-identify as having a disability.
“Wells Fargo raises awareness of the company’s recruiting, retaining, and advancement initiatives through impactful hiring events, the company’s People with Diverse Abilities Leaders Program, the No Barriers Summit sponsorship, and internal and external storytelling,” said Martinez.
In the U.S., only 20.6% of people with disabilities are working, according to the Department of Labor, and many live on a limited budget. Through Wells Fargo’s Hands on Banking® program and alliances with nonprofits, the company provides financial education to thousands of students and adults with disabilities.
“Hands on Banking is a free financial education program that teaches people the basics of responsible money management — how to create a budget, save and invest, borrow responsibly, buy a home, and establish a small business,” said Martinez. “These are skills of particular importance for people living with disabilities as they seek freedom and independence in life.”
Since 2015, Wells Fargo has donated to more than 15,000 nonprofits that serve people with disabilities, ranging from organizations focusing on community development to those providing health and human services.
“It is important for Wells Fargo to support organizations that empower people with disabilities and change inaccurate stereotypes,” said Martinez. “People with disabilities make great contributions to our world, and the more doors we can help open, the more we can all see that people with disabilities are not much different from anyone else.”
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