Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, which makes grants and loans to local development nonprofits in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, will move its $100 million in assets into a new entity under the Philadelphia Foundation, the two groups announced Friday.
That new entity, Regional Foundation LLC, will continue the work of the foundation, which was formed in 1998 to house charitable assets of banks that had been rolled up into CoreStates Financial Corp. and First Union Corp., and an affiliate that makes low-interest loans.
The new entity is expected to begin operations sometime in the next few weeks.
Since their founding, the foundation and the affiliated community development group “have made 800 grants totaling almost $107 million, primarily in the local three-state region,” said Aishah Miller, current executive director of the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation.
“The Regional Foundation LLC will retain this geographic focus in operating the legacy programs,” she said.
The foundation awards about $8 million a year, but “the amount of money we put on the street every year is $4 million to $5 million because of the multi-year component to it,” Miller said.
Among recipients in Philadelphia are Esperanza, a multifaceted community development nonprofit in North Philadelphia; Impact Services, a Kensington agency that offers mental-health services and youth sports, among other programs; and New Kensington Community Development Corp., Miller said.
Wells Fargo runs a separate corporate foundation that is not part of the transaction with the Philadelphia Foundation. It will continue focusing on affordable housing, small business, and financial health, said Aldustus Jordan, a Philadelphia-based Wells Fargo senior vice president who leads the San Francisco bank’s community relations function nationally.
Jordan said that moving to the regional foundation will allow staff to “focus on the work and the programs vs. the operation of the organization.”
The current regional foundation board, headed by John Thurber, vice president of public affairs at Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, will move over to the new entity, Jordan said.
Historically, Wells Fargo employees have staffed the foundation. Before pausing grants last year in preparation for this restructuring, the foundation had five staff members. The Regional Foundation board and the Philadelphia Foundation will decide on a new staffing structure.
Not including the Wells Fargo foundation, the Philadelphia Foundation manages more than 1,000 charitable funds with over $600 million in assets. Among the entities under the Philadelphia Foundation is the Lenfest Institute, which owns The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Fidelity Trust Co., the original trustee bank of Philadelphia Foundation when it was founded in 1918, is among the banks that became part of Wells Fargo.
“We are excited to welcome the Wells Fargo regional foundation and to be a part of assuring that its legacy of extraordinary commitment and innovation in supporting communities continues and grows,” said Pedro Ramos, the Philadelphia Foundation’s chief executive.