Wells Fargo Renews Ongoing Support of Habitat for Humanity

Wells Fargo is number 25 in a ranked list of the United States’ largest corporations. Their corporate social responsibility efforts extend from long before their notoriety, and include three priorities: economic contributions to disadvantaged communities, environmental husbandry, and progressive inclusion.

Their recent and ongoing donations to Habitat for Humanity serves all three goals.

Habitat for Humanity, founded in 1976 in Georgia and today a worldwide Christian nonprofit, is a well-established force towards making sure people have a place to live. “Through shelter, we empower” is their motto.

Wells Fargo has donated over $40 million to Habitat for Humanity since the beginning of their relationship in 2010. Wells Fargo employees are also encouraged to volunteer on Habitat building projects, having contributed more than 355,000 hours in that same time, or the equivalent of six consecutive years of man-hours.

On December 20th, 2017, Wells Fargo gifted an additional $18 million to the nonprofit to strengthen their U.S. operations, specifically in the realm of disaster aid. Habitat has learned much in the wake of the hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, and has expanded its needs.

“We have seen the positive impact made in local communities through our work with Habitat for Humanity and this donation will help to further advance our commitment to economic empowerment through affordable home-ownership,” said Jon Campbell, head of Community Relations and Corporate Responsibility at Wells Fargo. “The funding will also enable Wells Fargo to exceed our goal of building and improving 1,000 homes between 2016 and 2020.”

“This generous donation from Wells Fargo will enable us to partner with more families in need of a decent place to call home,” said Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford. “These much-needed funds also will allow us to make critical improvements to our operations, and help us better address the growing need for affordable housing throughout the country.”

The Power of Giving

Frame USA’s Monthly Charitable Gift Program

Frame USA, an online retailer that specializes in custom and ready-made picture frames, is setting the tone for corporate social responsibility. Frame USA has a “Monthly Charitable Gift Program” in which the company donates a portion of their proceeds towards a “charity of the month.”

$0.75 of every order placed through their website and $1.00 of every custom order placed through their physical store will be given to a charity in need. This month, Frame USA is supporting Fill the Truck.

Fill the Truck is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was launched in December of 2010 by Dan Regenold, CEO of Frame USA. It all started with a dream; Regenold wanted to fill a 54’ semi-truck with charitable donations. The donations included simple, everyday items ranging from shoes to winter coats to bedding and even toilet paper.

To say it was a success is an understatement—by the end of the month, Frame USA ended up needing a second truck because the first one was overfilled by about 7%. In total, there were 833 boxes and more than 30 skids, making for over 22,200 donations!

And that was just the first year…

One year later, in 2011, Fill the Truck partnered with nine other businesses to fill a total of 8 trucks and/or storage units. This year, Fill the Truck has more sponsors and partners than ever before, and the organization is on track for a record-breaking year.

Other charities that Frame USA has supported in the past include:

The American Cancer Society
American Diabetes Association
American Red Cross Louisiana Floods Relief
Autism Speaks
Feeding America
Foundation for Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
The Wild Animal Sanctuary
Wounded Warrior Project

… and many, many more.

Thank you, Frame USA, from all of us here at Philanthropic People. You are setting an excellent example of what a socially responsible business looks like.


CR and Corporate Culture

While giving money away and using company resources to support philanthropic causes, social ventures, and the local community may seem like it would make a company less profitable, that’s not necessarily the case. These days, more than ever, people want corporations and companies to connect with them on a human level. They want to do business with people who care about others, not faceless corporations simply trying to make the most money.

Last week, CR Magazine honored 100 publicly traded companies at the New York Stock exchange for their corporate responsibility practices. Topping the list were household names like AT&T, Mattel, Bristol-Myers, Eaton, Intel, Gap, Hasbro, Merck, Campbell, and Coca-Cola.

“By advancing accountability and transparency through this research we empower those closest to these companies to make better decisions and ultimately judge these companies and their behaviors,” reads CR Magazine’s website. “In that way, we move us all closer to a world where everyone has the information they need and markets function more effectively.”

Among the considerations for best CR practices are climate change, employee relations, environmental, financial, governance, human rights and philanthropy. Those companies that excel in all areas gain many benefits from doings so, giving them an advantage over competitors.

“For us it’s a win-win proposition,” Niki Kelley, Campbell’s Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility, told Fox Business. “It’s a long-term delivering of shareowner value to all of our stakeholders.”

Not only do good CR practices keep companies accountable and consumers happy, they also contribute to higher employee morale and productivity. People enjoy working for companies they are proud of, and solid corporate social responsibility practices help foster that.

The “trick” for companies is to find a way to balance social responsibility with corporate—financial—responsibility. That way, everyone is happy.

Organizations Resources

Philanthropy: Available at a Store Near You

For a long time, causes and capitalism ran on parallel yet separate tracks: philanthropists and entrepreneurs alike worked endlessly in order to gain attention and support from the public. Companies sought profit while charities sought aid. Today more consumers are seeking products, services, and retailers that use their influence and their means to support a good cause. Some  People want companies that give back to the community, and retailers have eagerly met this demand. Some companies host short-term campaigns in order to raise awareness and funds for a cause while others have established long-term, committed associations with philanthropies that they believe in. The companies and campaigns highlighted below illustrate how when a capitalist and a philanthropist collide, a new wealth of opportunities arise.

Target, one of the largest discounters in the U.S., is proud of their long history of philanthropy. Target has been donating 5% of their income to local communities since 1946. Their focus on charity has expanded since, and last year they launched an agenda called “Here for Good” that hosts programs surrounding education, the environment, safety & preparedness, and well-being. These programs, coupled with their social services, crisis relief, and their military and veteran support, Target has received accolades for their corporate social responsibility.

A brand-new glasses retailer, Warby Parker, had combined their cause with their product before the first pair of spectacles sold. For every pair of glasses that the company sells, they provide funding and/or glasses to a non-profit organization VisionSpring that trains men and women to sell glasses in developing countries. This model creates jobs while also providing glasses to a few of the almost one billion people worldwide in need of glasses. So far Warby Parker has distributed over 150,000 pairs.

Warby Parker’s model follows in the footsteps of the capitalism-cum-charity giant, TOMS. TOMS began in 2006 as a socially-conscious shoewear company that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie’s motivation for the company is simple: “If I started a charity, I’d have to go raise money every time I wanted to give them shoes. But if I started a business and made a shoe where the consumer liked it for what it was, then the consumer will be my natural provider of the shoes every year.”

TOMSBy September of 2010 TOMS had donated over 1 million pairs of shoes, and their popularity had exploded. Since its founding, the company has also put on an annual event called One Day Without Shoes that raises awareness for their cause, and they have established campus programs for passionate, involved students. TOMS has been praised as one of the most innovative retail companies of this decade, and it has been the exemplar of the for-profit-as-non-profit movement of the last decade.

These companies have created an easy link between consumers and charity; consumers are able to feel socially conscious and philanthropic while they get to buy the products and services they want. Meanwhile non-profit organizations get access to reliable funding sources and widespread exposure to their cause. The relationship benefits both parties, and most importantly, it benefits the people who need it most.