Wells Fargo Foundation grant is part of $175 million commitment to assist communities impacted by COVID-19
West Sacramento, Calif. — Rural Community Assistance Corporation today announced a $300,000 Wells Fargo Foundation grant, which will enable the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) to support communities most impacted by COVID-19. RCAC’s response to the crisis began in February and will continue in 2021 and beyond.
The grant for RCAC is one of six grants awarded to Partners for Rural Transformation CDFIs that support housing and community development in rural communities with persistent poverty across the U.S. The grants will fund a variety of programs and leverage networks to address lending, rural renter and homeowner challenges in these communities.
According to Partners for Rural Transformation, of the 395 U.S. counties with persistent poverty, eight out of 10 are rural and the majority (60%) of people living in rural communities are people of color. These same distressed communities now grapple with the ongoing health and economic crises resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
RCAC Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Anarde praised the news saying, “RCAC welcomes the Wells Fargo Foundation’s philanthropic support and shared vision of a country where persistent poverty no longer exists. We will continue to work collectively to influence policy and simultaneously lead, advocate, innovate, and finance individual and community solutions to poverty so our rural neighbors can build sustainable and promising futures, especially during the trying times of COVID-19.”
In addition to RCAC, PRT members that received $300,000 grants from the Wells Fargo Foundation include:
- cdcb (come dream. come build) in Texas
- Communities Unlimited in Arkansas
- Fahe in Kentucky
- HOPE Credit Union and Enterprise Corporation in Mississippi
- Oweesta Corporation in Colorado
“The economic challenges from COVID-19 are putting a spotlight on the most vulnerable people in underserved communities being disproportionately affected by job losses, under-employment, and housing instability,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, head of Housing Affordability Philanthropy with the Wells Fargo Foundation. “These CDFIs play a crucial role in reducing housing poverty and homelessness, improving health outcomes, boosting economic mobility, supporting job creation and retention, and strengthening the economy.”
The Wells Fargo Foundation has a strategic focus on addressing housing affordability, small business growth, and financial health and includes a $1 billion philanthropic commitment to address housing affordability solutions by 2025. As part of its $175 million response to COVID-19, the Wells Fargo Foundation has provided more than 1,200 grants in support of nonprofits to help keep more than 100,000 homeowners and renters housed. The Wells Fargo Foundation efforts to address the housing affordability crisis includes expanding the capacity of housing counselors to respond to renters and homeowners, supporting nonprofits that provide affordable rental homes and services, and support for legal aid organizations to provide representation for renters at-risk of eviction.
Founded in 1978, RCAC provides training, technical and financial resources and advocacy so rural communities can achieve their goals and visions. RCAC serves rural communities in 13 western states and western Pacific islands. Services are available to communities with populations of fewer than 50,000, other nonprofit groups, Tribal organizations, farmworkers, colonias and other specific populations. RCAC staff provides direct services in program areas including affordable housing, environmental services, economic development and lending. To learn more about RCAC, visit http://www.rcac.org
Read more about the Partners for Rural Transformation and Wells Fargo Foundation donation in the article, A coalition on a mission to eliminate persistent poverty in the U.S.
Julia Helmreich, director
Communications, Development & Events