(Photo: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg)

The Foundation for Financial Planning launched a COVID-19 Financial Resilience Fund, driven by a $500,000 matching commitment from Charles Schwab Foundation, FFP said.

All qualified contributions to the fund will be matched dollar for dollar, creating a total potential of $1 million to help bring pro bono financial planning and advice to low-income workers and other groups hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to FFP, a nonprofit charitable organization.

Charles Schwab Foundation’s commitment to FFP is part of more than $2 million it has pledged in response to the COVID-19 crisis, following contributions in support of local food banks and community foundations, the CDC Foundation, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Emergency Response Fund and more.

The COVID-19 Financial Resilience Fund will help support a variety of new offerings and programs that FFP developed in response to the crisis, including:

  1. Emergency grants
  2. Connecting certified financial planner volunteers to pro bono opportunities
  3. New programs for high-risk groups
  4. Relevant training and resources

FFP is curating and posting the most relevant resources for pro bono advisors and clients in its online Coronavirus & Pro Bono Planning Resource Center, including a COVID-19 Financial Resource Guide for planners, as well as conducting a special webinar series on how pro bono advisors can navigate the crisis, it said. Its Pro Bono Financial Planning Volunteer Training is also available for any advisors preparing to volunteer for the first time.

Separately, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards said Tuesday that it donated $25,000 to FFP’s COVID-19 Financial Resilience Fund.

Those interested in supporting the COVID-19 Financial Resilience Fund can learn more at FFPprobono.org/COVID-19Fund.

Wells Fargo Expands COVID-19 Initiatives

Wells Fargo & Co. announced additional efforts to help Americans stay in their homes, this time with funding for more than 500 nonprofits across the U.S., as part of the Wells Fargo Foundation’s $175 million commitment to help people and communities in response to COVID-19.

More than 300 grants were already made since March to help nonprofits provide urgent housing services for vulnerable populations, it said.

The COVID-19 relief grants from the Wells Fargo Foundation were intended to help national nonprofit housing intermediaries, local housing counselors and nonprofit housing providers support housing stability for more than 100,000 renters and homeowners facing financial challenges, it said. Strategies include widening the capacity of housing counselors to respond to renters and homeowners, as well as supporting nonprofits that provide affordable rental homes and services.

The most recent COVID-19 housing grants will provide 14 national nonprofit housing intermediaries with grant funding to support counseling and help keep people in stable housing, Wells Fargo said.

The company, meanwhile, continues to put measures in place to support the needs of homeowners affected by COVID-19. The company, for example, suspended all foreclosure activity and evictions for mortgage and home equity customers and is offering a three-month payment suspension for any Wells Fargo Home Lending mortgage or home equity customer who requests assistance, it said. That includes customers with owner-occupied homes and investors who own single-family or 2-4 unit rental properties. Customers who contact Wells Fargo and get a payment suspension won’t have past-due status reported to the consumer reporting agencies and won’t be charged late fees during the suspension period, it said.

Wells Fargo also stopped involuntary automobile repossessions and is offering fee waivers, payment deferrals and other expanded assistance for credit card, auto, small-business and personal lending customers who contact it, the company said.

From early March to early April, the company also deferred payments and waived fees for more than 1.3 million consumer and small-business customers, it said. That included deferring more than 1 million payments for a total of about $3 billion in principal and interest.

The firm also said in April that it “mobilized hundreds of Wells Fargo employees and launched new automation and technology [to] process the extremely high volume” of Paycheck Protection Program applications.

HSBC Providing More Than $4M in COVID-19 Aid

HSBC Bank USA is providing more than $4 million to help fight the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., including a $2 million grant to Feeding America to help combat food insecurity and ease increased demand on food banks across the country, it said Monday.

In addition, HSBC is providing:

  1. $800,000 in grants to small businesses using Community Development Financial Institutions as partners to reach those who have been least likely to receive PPP loans
  2. $500,000 to match HSBC USA employee donations in 2020
  3. $415,000 to employee-led volunteer grants via Involve, the volunteer program for HSBC USA
  4. $150,000 to the American Red Cross to specifically address COVID-19 operational needs at the nonprofit’s New York City headquarters, in addition to supporting their response to other disasters
  5. $128,000 to Junior Achievement USA to support JA Chapters in HSBC USA markets
  6. $100,000+ from its Employee Resource Groups that have chosen to redirect funds to nonprofits helping with COVID-19 relief

These programs are part of HSBC USA’s commitment to provide a total of $25 million in charitable donations to support COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts globally, it said.

Caring Cetera Offers Grants for Those Hit by Pandemic

The Caring Cetera 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded and led by Cetera Financial Group advisors started helping Cetera-affiliated advisors, staff and members of their households diagnosed with and directly impacted by COVID-19, it said.

The nonprofit also said it expedited the process for providing supportive grants and launched a special fundraising campaign via a GoFundMe campaign for those interested in supporting Caring Cetera’s mission.

Information regarding Caring Cetera is available in the Advisor Resiliency Pack, a suite of services across the Cetera network that launched in March to support Cetera’s community of advisors, institutions and their clients during the pandemic.

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