Examining Affordable Housing in New Jersey and the Nation

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Brandee McHale, Former Head of Corporate Philanthropy, Wells Fargo, to discuss affordable housing in New Jersey and the nation.

11/12/2019 #2266






"Welcome to One on One. I'm Steve Adubato. Why am I yelling? [laughter] We're coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio, in beautiful Newark, New Jersey. It is our honor to welcome Brandee McHale, Head of Corporate Philanthropy at a little company called Wells Fargo. Yes. How you doing? I'm doing well. Thank you for having me here today. We should make it clear that you've just come on board. Yes. I am almost eight weeks on the job here at Wells Fargo after spending a quarter of a century in financial services... I joined Wells Fargo over the Summer. What drew you to this company? Really, there's an energy and an excitement. Wells Fargo is a 200 year old company, really focused on innovation. And bringing a new focus to delivering financial services in communities across the US, and that includes an unprecedented commitment to the Wells Fargo Foundation, which I lead. I'm going to be investing almost $450,000,000 this year alone in local communities. By the way, we do a series called A Plus For Educators, for teachers who we celebrate. I meet some pretty terrific educators and the foundation has been supportive of that initiative. Let me ask you about the larger question of corporate philanthropy. Yeah. Dollars are tight? Yep. Trust me. We in public broadcasting know that. Yes. Has the role of corporate philanthropy changed dramatically, say in the last five years? Yeah. And, if so, how? Yeah... I think corporations really understand and now see corporate philanthropy as adding strategic value both to the external communities but also to the core business model. We at Wells Fargo think about our corporate philanthropy along a continuum as an extension of the way that we drive positive impact in society. We may be funding local community based organizations to work on key challenges. But, we also think about how we can scale good ideas that work through our core products and services. And one of those initiatives is interesting. It's the NeighborhoodLIFT program assisting homeowners. What is it and why does it matter, Brandee? So, just this past June, the Wells Fargo Foundation made a commitment to invest a billion dollars over the next six years on the housing affordability crisis here in the US. In New Jersey, where home prices are rising at such a quick rate, but incomes are stagnated and not growing at that same rate, we really see the crisis is incredibly acute here. More than four in ten households are feeling some sense of housing insecurity. And, that insecurity can be, at the most extreme end, being actually homeless and not having a place to live, to paying more than 50 percent of your income to support your housing cost. What was this... my understanding is you've already had 74 if I'm not mistaken. Yes. LIFT..."