CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A new report from a national LGBT philanthropic tracking group has found Wells Fargo ranks first in a list of top corporate funders for LGBT causes.
The New York City-based Funders for LGBTQ Issues released their 2012 LGBT philanthropic tracking report late last month. The report documents domestic and international philanthropic spending toward LGBT causes and organizations across a variety of metrics and sources.
Among the sources explored were corporate foundations.
Wells Fargo and its foundation landed at the top of the list, contributing more than $3.5 million dollars to LGBT causes in 2012. Specifically in North Carolina, Funders for LGBTQ Causes say they found $46,100 given to local causes from the Wells Fargo Foundation. Those groups included Blue Ridge Pride, Foundation for the Carolinas (which houses the Charlotte Lesbian & Gay Fund), the LGBT Center of Raleigh, One Voice Chorus, Time Out Youth and a grant for Winston-Salem Pride through the Winston-Salem Foundation.
Additionally, Funders says the Wells Fargo Foundation is the only top 10 company it found engaging in corporate LGBT grant making in North Carolina that year.
Wells Fargo spokespeople told qnotes they were intrigued by the the study’s numbers and did more research on their end. In 2014, they said, Wells Fargo contributed $239,000 to LGBT non-profits in Charlotte.
“Diversity and inclusion are a part of our core values at Wells Fargo,” Kendall Alley, Wells Fargo’s community banking regional president, based in Charlotte, said in a statement to qnotes. “We value and learn from the diversity of team members, customers and communities. Being diverse and inclusive offers us a competitive advantage and is part of what makes our company special. We can’t be one of the world’s great companies unless we become more diverse and inclusive ourselves.”
Other top companies on the list included Levi Strauss & Co. Foundation, M.A.C. AIDS Fund, GE Foundation and the Walmart Foundation.
Funders for LGBTQ Issues notes their research is often limited, studying corporate foundation tax filings or examining self-reported figures from the foundations themselves. The figures do not include funds from marketing or other corporate budgets sometimes used to sponsor events or organizations.
“Our goal over the next few years is to get as good at corporate tracking as we are at private foundation tracking — so this list is a first step in that direction,” said Lyle Matthew Kan, Funders’ director of communications and education.
In Charlotte and across the state, other national and regional companies also regularly give to LGBT causes. Bank of America, Time Warner Cable, Food Lion and others have often been large sponsors of LGBT organizations in the state.
North Carolina’s LGBT-owned businesses also have long philanthropic histories. Greensboro’s Replacements, Ltd. and Taylorsville’s Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams support a variety of local and national groups. Others include Charlotte’s Scorpio and Raleigh’s Workplace Options.