Grameen America Awarded $400,000 from Wells Fargo to Spark Diverse Small Business Growth in Harlem, New York City, and Newark, New Jersey

Funds used to support low-income women entrepreneurs and help strengthen their communities


Pictured from left to right: Jill Monum, Senior Director, Corporate Partnerships & Engagement at Grameen America, Deborah Smith, NY, NJ, CT Community Affairs Manager, Wells Fargo, Alethia Mendez, Vice President, Operations & Program Strategy at Grameen America, Mindee Barham, Vice President of Development at Grameen America, and Catherine Domenech, New York Community Relations Senior Consultant, Wells Fargo

New York, NY, March 18, 2019Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) announced New York-based Grameen America was awarded $400,000 in grant funds and $7.5 million in lending capital through the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital program.

The Diverse Community Capital program awards lending capital and grants to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), like Grameen America, which in turn deliver responsible, affordable financial products to diverse small business owners who do not typically have access to conventional financing. Wells Fargo has now exceeded its initial $75 million commitment for the Diverse Community Capital program, and an additional $100 million from the Wells Fargo Foundation has already been pledged to continue the program at least into 2020.

With the latest round of funding, Wells Fargo reaffirmed its commitment to CDFIs serving urban centers, like New York, recognizing the importance of supporting diverse small businesses in the nation’s largest cities.

“Diverse female small business owners in Harlem and Newark who would not otherwise have access to the resources needed to start or grow their businesses will now have resources through our support of Grameen America,” said Deborah Smith, Community Affairs Manager for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. “The Diverse Community Capital program is just one of the ways we’re proud to support the growth of the local economy.”

The grant will support Grameen America’s growth in Harlem, New York, and Newark, New Jersey, enabling the organization to reach a diverse population of low-income women entrepreneurs with their microloan, and asset- and credit-building programs. In Harlem, the funds will enhance program operations and oversight, staff training and expansion, and technical support. They anticipate reaching over 1,700 African-American women entrepreneurs by the end of 2020 with $9 million in microloans. In Newark, the funds will help Grameen America’s young branch there, allowing the organization to expand its staff and programs to reach the city’s diverse communities. Their goal is to reach over 2,500 low-income women entrepreneurs in Newark by the end of 2020 with over $14 million in microloans.

“This funding is crucial to our efforts to expand opportunity for women living in poverty in Harlem and Newark,” said Andrea Jung, President and CEO of Grameen America. “We will be able to reach more women entrepreneurs who want to build their businesses, create jobs, and help revitalize local communities.”

Across the country, Diverse Community Capital awardees have closed more than $391 million through more than 8,000 loans to diverse small business clients. Diverse small businesses that received loans from awardee CDFIs have retained more than 21,000 jobs and created more than 15,000 jobs as a result of accessing the capital and development services they needed.

The Diverse Community Capital program is a collaboration between Wells Fargo and Opportunity Finance Network, a national network of CDFIs. Opportunity Finance Network offers a social capital component of the program, which focuses on helping CDFIs grow stronger through activities including in-person networking, mentorship, consulting and peer learning.


About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,950 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet ( and mobile banking, and has offices in 37 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 262,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 26 on Fortune’s 2018 rankings of America’s largest corporations. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.


About Grameen America

Founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus, Grameen America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit microfinance organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurial women who live in poverty build small businesses to enable financial mobility. The organization offers microloans, training, and support to transform communities and fight poverty in the United States. Since opening in January 2008, Grameen America has invested over $1 billion in more than 110,000 low-income women entrepreneurs. Started in Jackson Heights, Queens, Grameen America has expanded to 21 locations in New York City, NY, Austin, TX, Boston, MA, Charlotte, NC, Indianapolis, IN, Los Angeles, CA, Newark, NJ, Omaha, NE, Oakland, CA, San Jose, CA, San Juan, PR, Union City, NJ, Miami, FL, and Houston, TX. Learn more at




Kevin Friedlander