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T.D. JAKES, WELLS FARGO in joint venture


Revitalizing underserved communities

Forbes magazine is reporting a groundbreaking collaboration aimed at addressing societal challenges and revitalizing forgotten communities. On Feb. 9, renowned pastor T.D. Jakes and Wells Fargo announced a $1 billion investment initiative. The partnership, born out of a shared commitment to social impact, seeks to bring positive change to underserved areas, emphasizing financial literacy, affordable housing, and community development.

T.D. Jakes, founder and pastor of The Potter’s House, had proposed a foundation to address sociological issues four years ago, estimating a need for $100 million. Undeterred by the absence of immediate funds, Jakes, known for his faith-driven initiatives, went public with his vision in January 2020.

“I’m not normal. I stepped out on faith,” said Jakes of his belief in the transformative power of faith.

The partnership includes a significant financial commitment from Wells Fargo, with a $9 million grant earmarked for revitalizing marginalized communities, particularly Black and brown neighborhoods. The announcement specified a $500,000 allocation to Augusta, Georgia’s Laney Walker neighborhood, where plans include the construction of a much-needed grocery store.

Last year, the collaboration between the T.D. Jakes Foundation, T.D. Jakes Real Estate Ventures, and Wells Fargo crystallized into a $1 billion investment initiative. The multifaceted approach aims to refurbish underserved areas, fostering economic growth and community well-being. Jakes envisions combating financial disparities through increased financial literacy programs and addressing issues like predatory payday loan businesses.

“Incrementally, we will attack some of the issues,” affirmed Jakes, who has already initiated mixed-use real estate development plans in South Florida, including senior housing. Notably, the pastor has enlisted the support of billionaire Tyler Perry for a project around the Fort McPherson military base in Atlanta.

The combined developments in Atlanta and Florida are projected to include 2,000 homes, with plans to build an additional 10,000 nationwide over the next five years.

Jakes emphasizes his commitment to creating opportunities for Black Americans and empowering communities.

“For years [Black Americans] had people making decisions about us without us,” Jakes said. “And often, even when well-meaning, it’s been to our detriment.”

Addressing concerns about Wells Fargo’s historical relationship with Black Americans, especially regarding mortgage discrimination, Jakes expressed trust in the bank’s current leadership. He noted CEO Charles Scharf’s commitment to rectifying past issues and emphasized the ongoing endeavor to build equity, opportunity, and affordable housing.

“I’m here to represent our people in an ongoing endeavor to build equity, opportunity, to build a commodity of affordable housing,” Jakes said. “Wells Fargo is standing alongside to provide capital.”