The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation (MCCF) has received a $1M grant from Wells Fargo in support of Advancing Entrepreneurship at the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD). The grant was announced by Wells Fargo CEO, Charlie Scharf, at a roundtable discussion held October 22, 2021, themed around small business growth and recovery efforts, attended by various community organizations and leaders including Arizona Governor, Doug Ducey.

The Advancing Entrepreneurship grant is focused on uplifting economically disadvantaged and diverse-owned small businesses, as well as students of color pursuing business and entrepreneurial studies at the Maricopa Community Colleges. It provides scholarships and programming support to increase college enrollment and completion rates as well as provide funding to support business incubators, bootcamps, workshops and student pitch competitions.

“Wells Fargo’s generosity is helping to build a more inclusive and sustainable future for all,” said Dr. Steven Gonzales, Interim Chancellor, MCCCD. “The pandemic has heaped layers of challenges upon the business community and Wells Fargo is working to support an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery for their customers, employees and communities.”

In partnership with the Maricopa Workforce and Economic Development office, more than 1,200 small businesses and 230 of MCCCD students will benefit as a result of the grant which will also provide economically disadvantaged and diverse-owned small businesses access to capital and services, confidential counseling by SBA certified “Arizona Access to Capital” advisors, and opportunities allowing them to achieve digital transformation through the AZSBDC “LevelUp AZ Small Business” program.

“The Advancing Entrepreneurship grant marks a new chapter in Wells Fargo’s ongoing commitment towards making a positive community impact,” said Brian Spicker, President and CEO, MCCF. “Their support of numerous efforts since 1988, including Heroes of Education, the ACE (Achieving a College Education) Program, our Veterans Center, Emergency Student Assistance and the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation is a testament to their dedication to our students and our communities. and helps to build a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.”

“Through its broad range of innovative programs in support of diverse small business growth, including the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation, Maricopa County Community Colleges District and its Foundation recognize that when small businesses succeed, the entire community benefits,” said Charlie Scharf, CEO of Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is proud to help MCCF expand the important work it is doing to support existing small business owners while also helping to develop the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs.”

The roundtable discussion where the grant was announced focused upon how Wells Fargo can continue to help the small businesses that need support the most. Darcy Renfro, Chief Workforce and Economic Development Officer, represented the Maricopa Community College District.   Topics included racial equity among small businesses focusing upon their needs, challenges and opportunities and provided a chance for Wells Fargo to convey their support for recovery and growth in Arizona.  The event, which followed several major recent grant announcements, concluded with several new grant recipient acknowledgments, including the surprise announcement to MCCF.

For more information about this and other opportunities for support, please contact Judy Sanchez, Chief Development Officer, Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, at judy.sanchez@domail.maricopa.edu or 480.731.8739.  For Workforce and Economic Development information contact wedo@domail.maricopa.edu or 480.731.8106.