helping hands (Image: Thinkstock)

Charles Schwab launched a virtual volunteering and giving program called CommUNITY 2020 that it said offers new ways for employees to serve their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program “eliminates obstacles to serving others during a time of social distancing and shelter-in-place protocols, and is supported by four pillars of service that can be performed from anywhere at any time,” it said.

Those four pillars include:

ACT: Schwab “curated hundreds of virtual volunteer opportunities for employee participation – all aimed at lifting those most in need in the communities where Schwab employees live and work,” it said.

GIVE: Schwab is matching employees’ personal contributions 2:1 for donations made to eligible nonprofit organizations, with matches totaling up to $2,000 per employee annually.

LEARN: Employees are invited to participate in the company’s new educational series on giving that features panel discussions with nonprofit leaders and practical tips on how to engage in local communities.

SHARE: To advocate for the causes most important to them and to inspire others to follow their lead, employees are being encouraged to post their stories on social media with #Schwab4Good and the company is highlighting them internally in newsletters and on their intranet, it said.

Prior to this, the Foundation for Financial Planning launchedCOVID-19 Financial Resilience Fund, driven by a $500,000 matching commitment from the Charles Schwab Foundation, FFP said.

Wells Fargo Grants $1.5M

Wells Fargo announced a $1.5 million contribution by the Wells Fargo Foundation in support of the Funders for Housing and Opportunity.

FHO focuses on advancing housing affordability solutions and relief for renter households and homeless people disproportionately affected by the economic downturn as a result of COVID-19, Wells Fargo noted.

Wells Fargo also pledged up to $20 million to support the New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF), an economic revitalization program across New York initiated by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that was designed to help small businesses, nonprofits and small landlords as they reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund purchased its first loans in July after pre-applications opened on May 26. A total of $100 million is expected to be available through NYFLF, which Wells Fargo is supporting along with other financial institutions and partners.

Separately, Wells Fargo said it was launching a Drive-Up Food Bank program to help families facing food insecurity during the pandemic. Working with Feeding America and its network of member food banks, Wells Fargo said it “will turn many of its locations across the country into mobile food distribution centers with the goal of providing 50 million meals to individuals and families.” The Wells Fargo Drive-Up Food Bank program will run through September, it said.

The firm previously 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.

Other recent Wells Fargo initiatives included efforts to help Americans stay in their homes as part of the Wells Fargo Foundation’s $175 million commitment to help people and communities in response to COVID-19.

Prudential Adds Post-Lockdown Financial Wellness Program

Prudential Financial created a new workplace insurance offering it said was “designed specifically for concerned employees and time-strapped human resources teams.”

The firm pointed to its own recent research that showed about half of Americans were worried about their financial future following the COVID-19 crisis. Many workers recognize the need to manage their finances differently now and employers play a major role in providing the right education and tools to do so, the firm said.

Prudential’s new “The Way Forward: Financial Life After Lockdown” packages financial wellness content, online tools and virtual and in-person programs intended to provide the “educational foundation employees need to manage day-to-day finances, safeguard against financial disruptions and develop a plan for meeting specific financial goals,” it said.

Included are new seminars tailored to address key obstacles faced during the pandemic and timely education and assistance for transitioning employees. Workplace benefits are integrated to teach employees how they can optimally use them for their specific financial situations, Prudential said. The new financial wellness package will be offered through Prudential Group Insurance.

Comerica Aids Small Businesses

Comerica Bank continued its response to support local communities hurt by COVID-19 with investments totaling $2 million to Community Development Financial Institutions assisting small businesses hurt by the COVID-19 crisis.

New investments of $1.5 million to Lendistry and $500,000 to California FarmLink are part of Comerica Bank and the Comerica Charitable Foundation’s $8 million investment in community programming support for businesses impacted by COVID-19, it said. The investments will provide needed funding to small businesses across Comerica’s five-state footprint that includes Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Texas, it said.

Previously, the company announced initiatives that included a $1 million commitment to the National Business League to launch the Black Capital Access Program, and access to capital to assist black businesses across the country.

The company also said it had processed and submitted about 13,000 PPP loan applications as of May 7, all of which it said were approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration.