The Wells Fargo stagecoach made a stop in Atlanta, the fifth on a media tour. Aboard were a host of executives from its North Carolina headquarters and locally, including Michelle Thornhill, SVP of diverse segments enterprise marketing; Jerome Byers, regional president, Atlanta bank; Leonard Walker, Atlanta business banking division manager; Candy Moore, southeast community development manager; and Hugh Rowden, SVP, servicing and community relations (Home Mortgage). The fifth African American media luncheon was held on Tuesday, March 29, 2011, at the newly renovated Commerce Club located at 191 Peachtree Tower.
“Why are we here? We are here to tell our story. Who better to tell a great story to than [the media],” said Michele Thornhill.
In a press release statement, Wells Fargo & Company announced they’ve made more than $3.7 million in gifts to support Atlanta’s African American community since 2010. Donations have been made to 50 different groups operating in the metro area. Here are a few examples. The United Way has received $1.2 million for community development in predominantly African American communities. A five-year commitment, $500,000, has been promised for the building of Operation HOPE Financial Literacy Empowerment Center at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Resources for Residents and Communities, the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together have received $666,000, collectively, to address foreclosure in African American communities across Atlanta.
“Wells Fargo can only be strong if the communities are strong,” Thornhill adds. The primary initiatives in the Altanta-area are financial education, small business and community involvement.
Jerome Byers vaunts that Atlanta was the first city on the East Coast to bring the stagecoach to town. The arrival of Wells Fargo signified the lights being turned off at Wachovia. “We are in every other household in metro Atlanta. We have 200 locations in the Atlanta area, more than any other bank. Wells Fargo gets diversity. We want to help customers succeed,” he said.
Byers and Candy Moore both agreed that Wells Fargo donates more than money, but also aims to be an integral part of fabric of the community. Byers is the past chairman of the board for Teach for America (Atlanta), a member of the 100 Black Men and serves on several other boards. Moore is a member of the Atlanta Chapter of The Links Inc. and has served as a PAC committee Member with Junior League of Atlanta.
Attendees included 11 Alive’s Karyn Greer, Atlanta Business League’s Leona Barr Davenport, Atlanta Daily World‘s Portia Scott, Atlanta Tribune‘s Pat Lottier, students from Clark Atlanta University TV, this writer and a host of other media outlets. –yvette caslin