USCM, Wells Fargo award $300,000 to support San Francisco Chinatown’s small businesses


SAN FRANCISCO — The US Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Wells Fargo announced that through the 2017 CommunityWINS® Program, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee was recognized for his work on behalf San Francisco, and a local nonprofit, Main Street Launch, will receive $300,000 to fund its Chinatown Initiative for Entrepreneurial Spirit and Innovation project.

The Chinatown Initiative for Entrepreneurial Spirit and Innovation is a cooperative effort located in the oldest Chinatown of the country to provide business owners technical assistance, marketing and business directories, and data collection and analysis services. This grant hopes to help preserve the legacy of many small businesses in the community.

The funds will help provide tailored technical assistance for Chinatown-based small businesses, create an on-line business directory, and complete a detailed analysis for 200 local businesses including listing them in ArcGIS mapping technologies and with public databases.

The 2017 CommunityWINS® Program, is a collaboration between the USCM and Wells Fargo that provides grants to city-based non-profit organizations and recognizes mayors for exemplary leadership in developing local programs that promote long-term economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for residents in three categories: neighborhood stabilization, economic development, and job creation. An independent panel of judges, selected by the US Conference of Mayors, determined which non-profits would receive grants, which Wells Fargo funds. Mayor Edwin Lee nominated Main Street Launch for the grant.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the US Conference of Mayors to make $300,000 available for Main Street Launch’s Chinatown Initiative for Entrepreneurial Spirit and Innovation that will help strengthen Chinatown’s small businesses,” said Greg Morgan, EVP and president of the Greater San Francisco region. “We thank Mayor Lee for his work on behalf of the City of San Francisco and for nominating Main Street Launch for the grant.”

The History of Wells Fargo and Asian Community
Wells Fargo has a long-standing history of service and commitment to the Asian-American community in the Bay Area:

• Respect was one reason why Wells Fargo became the favorite of Chinese immigrants in the 1800s. The young bank offered them a fair price for gold and the means for safeguarding and investing it. In the Financial Panic of 1855, when other banks suffered major losses on deposits, Wells Fargo’s Chinese customers held fast. The bank came through – integrity unscathed.

• In the midst of anti-Chinese sentiment, Wells Fargo published its first bilingual Directory of Chinese Business Houses to facilitate commerce with Chinese small businesses in major cities. It also hired Chinese interpreters, such as, Ah Wan in 1869 and Tom Choy in 1874. San Francisco publisher Wong Sam’s English-Chinese phrase book listed only one bank – Wells Fargo.

• Even with the federal Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, Wells Fargo stood by its Chinese customers. Agent Richard Thompson testified against the deportation of Ham Tung, a Chinese business owner. Today, continuing a tradition of supporting the Chinese community, Wells Fargo has added more Cantonese and Mandarin speaking bankers in its branches.

For more information on the 2017 CommunityWINS Grant Awards recipients go to