Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wells Fargo Protects Precious Resources

Wells Fargo – Banking on the Environment

One in a Series of Surfrider Sponsor Stories

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to the following copyrighted material. For permission to reprint or excerpt it and/or link it to another website, contact them at  

Wells Fargo, a bank that has been safeguarding valuables for 160 years, is also dedicated to safeguarding the environment – a commitment it demonstrates as a Surfrider Foundation Huntington Beach/Seal Beach Chapter Sponsor.

Known for its iconic stagecoaches and the treasure boxes they transported across the West, Wells Fargo stagecoaches carried everything from gold bars and coins, currency, checks and bank drafts to legal papers and assorted treasures.

Housed in strong boxes made from Ponderosa pine and iron, valuables were protected on their journey by Wells Fargo shotgun messengers – “The kind of men you could depend on if you get into a fix,” said 19th Century Wells Fargo detective Jim Hume, noting that thieves would find themselves staring at the end of a shotgun barrel, possibly held by legendary lawman Wyatt Earp himself. 

Conducting business in the middle of California’s gold rush from its headquarters in San Francisco...

and offices spread across the western mining camps... 

Wells Fargo developed a reputation as a bank you could trust – a reputation that it carries today and is reflected not only in its banking policies, but in its charitable activities and commitment to the environment.  

Well Fargo’s corporate website states

“In approaching our responsibility, Wells Fargo seeks to ensure that, as we do business, natural resources are protected and environmental, social and economic needs are part of our everyday decisions. In this integrated approach to sustainability, we are committed to finding new ways to minimize our energy consumption, address climate change, use renewable sources, and inspire others to do the same so we can lower our impact on the planet.”

Wells Fargo, Irvine, CA  

In addition to supporting the Surfrider Foundation’s mission to protect the world’s oceans, waves and beaches, Wells Fargo also contributes to numerous other ocean-related groups, including the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy, Orange County Coastkeeper, and Algalita Marine Research Foundation.

Manuel Florence, a senior systems analyst, information technology, with Wells Fargo, is also the Blue Water Task Force Water Testing Coordinator for the Surfrider HB/SB Chapter. In these dual roles he helps to protect Orange County’s beaches from water contaminants and to facilitate Wells Fargo’s involvement with the Surfrider Foundation.

Florence told SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel that Wells Fargo contributed over $11,000 this year to the Surfrider Foundation, “which includes grant money for the Blue Water Task Force Water Testing Education Program and individual contributions from Wells Fargo Team Members.”

The purpose of the water testing education program, according to Florence, is to provide “an opportunity for students to learn about the scientific methods of water sampling and analysis…and it’s a great way for them to contribute to the environment and the community.”  

According to Jack Toan, a vice president and community affairs manager of the Wells Fargo Foundation, the bank has focused much of its giving in Orange County: 

 “In 2010, Wells Fargo and our team members donated more than $5.6 million to 543 nonprofit organizations and schools. Our staff has served on nearly 100 nonprofit boards and reported 12,700 volunteer hours in Orange County.” 

In addition to the monetary support Wells Fargo provides Surfrider, its team members have participated in numerous beach cleanups and helped to educate the community about the need to recycle resources and properly dispose of trash.

Since the beginning of the 2012 year, 397 Wells Fargo Volunteers have participated in 29 Surfrider HB/SB Chapter beach cleanups at the Huntington Beach and Seal Beach piers, South Bolsa Jetty, and other Orange County locations.

 Wells Fargo Volunteers Beach Cleanup Bag

SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti talked to Virginia DePaola, Wells Fargo Orange County Volunteers Event Coordinator and a 2011 Spirit of Volunteerism Awards recipient. DePaola explained that Wells Fargo is a strong believer in the need for corporate philanthropy and the concept of supporting local communities.  

“At Wells Fargo we look for volunteer activities that give back to our local community, support interests that our team members are most passionate about and try to involve the whole family,” said DePaola. “Working with Surfrider we meet all those criteria and more.”

DePaola was eager to tell SurfWriter Girls about a Wells Fargo beach cleanup event she was involved in planning. “Manuel Florence and I worked together to create an event that would bring team members and their families together for a great day of fun, food and community service. This event had us all going home feeling that we learned something important about our oceans, made a difference, and had a good time.”

A larger-than-life Wells Fargo Check

Florence agreed that the Surfrider beach cleanups fit perfectly with Wells Fargo’s environmental mission. ”I’m proud of Wells Fargo for the support that they give to our community in Huntington Beach and across the nation. It’s one of the best things we do,” he said, adding that Wells Fargo gives Volunteer Team Members time off during office hours to perform community service activities.

To keep track of all the volunteer activities that are available, DePaola told SurfWriter GIrls that Wells Fargo has an internal corporate website that lists the upcoming events:

“It even alerts people to opportunities that match up with their personal interests.” 

After visiting Wells Fargo’s Dealer Services Center in Irvine, SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti could see that, just as Wells Fargo’s famed stagecoaches always found a way to deliver their precious cargos, the bank’s volunteers today are finding ways to protect our precious resources.   

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