Blog Post

Wells Fargo Has Reaffirmed its Commitment to the Hispanic Community with a $2M Donation

By Ruben Barrales
December 3, 2021

This month we are highlighting our Diversity Best Practices member, Wells Fargo, which has reaffirmed its commitment to the Hispanic community with a $2 million donation to the Smithsonian Latino Center in support of the historic National Museum of the American Latino and the development of the Molina Family Latino Gallery. We sat down and spoke with Ruben Barrales, Senior Vice President, External Engagement, Diverse Segments, Representation and Inclusion at Wells Fargo, to learn more about the donation, how it fits into their broader corporate strategy, and what they are doing to measure it’s impact.

Tell us a bit about Well Fargo’s latest donation to the Smithsonian Center.

Wells Fargo has reaffirmed its commitment to the Hispanic community with a $2 million donation to the Smithsonian Latino Center in support of the historic National Museum of the American Latino and the development of the Molina Family Latino Gallery, which will open in 2022.

Wells Fargo was an early supporter of the idea of a Latino American museum, even before Congress authorized the project in December 2020. So we’re excited to support the creation of this very important museum. We believe it’s vital to honor and capture the many contributions U.S. Hispanics and Latinos have made through arts and culture, science and technology, business, sports, and activism.

However, as historic as this point in time is for the museum, this donation is really about the future. We know that the Latino community is growing in its significance and contributions to this country – and our support and involvement is an acknowledgement of that.

Does this donation fit into a specific pillar of your corporate strategy? Where do you see it positioned within the company in terms of strategic business focus?

When Charlie Scharf became Wells Fargo’s CEO in 2019, he made advancing diversity and inclusion a top priority, recognizing its importance to the bank’s success and to building trust among our employees, customers and the communities we serve. Our success as a bank is tied to us meeting the needs of the diverse communities in which we live and work. Our financial support for the National Museum of the American Latino and the Molina Family Latino Gallery is one example of how we plan to celebrate and honor the many diverse communities we serve.

Are you doing anything to measure the impact of your donation?

As a leading financial organization, we are prepared to measure impact through brand impressions, museum attendance, and the number of individuals served by related museum educational programs.

Furthermore, as the son of Mexican immigrants, I know that the museum will touch millions of Americans with similar backgrounds who will be able to experience the institution.

Wells Fargo’s leadership role with the Museum of the American Latino has already helped to increase our reputation as a corporate citizen who acknowledges and serves the Latino community. We are already seeing positive response to our donation from important Latino influencers across the country.

What is the most rewarding part about your role? What’s the most challenging?

What I love most about my role is that it is the compilation of my career experience in public service, and in expanding economic inclusion and opportunities for everyone. In my current role, I focus on building meaningful relationships between Wells Fargo and national diverse nonprofits and business advocacy organizations.

While my work is externally facing, the road to creating more diversity and inclusion for all really starts internally. It’s vital that we first demonstrate we value diversity within Wells Fargo. Listening to what our employees think and care about, and understanding what is important to our diverse customers, is essential.  Only then can we credibly engage in consequential relationships with diverse leaders, organizations and communities.

What advice would you give to companies that are just beginning their DEI efforts?

Companies need to start with a thoughtful, integrated approach to their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts – one that focuses on employees, customers and the communities they serve. You can’t create any real impact without an integrated approach.

I’m proud of the renewed commitment and the work Wells Fargo is doing to improve diversity, equity and inclusion both within and beyond the bank. It’s integrated and purposeful. There are no quick fixes. We know having sustainable impact is a multi-year journey and we’re committed to that. Companies need to be prepared for that journey if they want to create meaningful change.

About the Authors

Ruben Barrales
Ruben Barrales
Senior Vice President, External Engagement, Diverse Segments, Representation and Inclusion
Wells Fargo & Company