Wells Fargo announced that Eileen Fitzgerald will join the company as head of its housing affordability philanthropy. She begins work September 30 and will report to Brandee McHale, President of the Wells Fargo Foundation.
“America can’t afford unaffordable housing,” McHale said. “Wells Fargo is committed to addressing the full spectrum of housing issues. With Eileen at the helm, I am confident we will move quickly to further develop solutions to challenges ranging from homelessness to rental housing to homeownership — all with a goal of unlocking more housing options for those in need.”
Fitzgerald has more than 25 years' experience in housing and community development. Currently, she is President and CEO of Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF), a collaborative of nonprofits that collectively own and operate more than 140,000 affordable rental homes across the U.S. SAHF advances the creation and preservation of healthy, sustainable affordable rental homes for people of limited economic resources.
Previously, Fitzgerald was CEO and COO of NeighborWorks America. Before that, she worked at the Fannie Mae Foundation and was chief investment officer for Single-Family at the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust. She also worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service and with the Virginia and Maryland state governments.
In her new role at Wells Fargo, Fitzgerald will be responsible for developing and implementing strategies intended to strengthen housing affordability in the U.S. Aligned with the Wells Fargo Foundation’s philanthropy strategy, she will lead housing affordability grant making, collaborative efforts with nonprofits intended to create positive impact, and initiatives intended to strengthen the national housing affordability movement.
Fitzgerald is a graduate of Fordham University and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. She lives in Takoma Park, Maryland.
In June, Wells Fargo announced an evolution of its philanthropic strategy and that it would commit $1 billion in philanthropy by 2025 to address the U.S. housing affordability crisis by working with community partners, non-profits and policymakers to develop new housing affordability solutions for homelessness, transitional housing, rentals, and homeownership.
As part of this new commitment, Wells Fargo will join Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., to launch a $20 million Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge. The aim is to address challenges in construction, financing and support services for low- and moderate-income families, the elderly, and the homeless. The challenge grant intends to uncover new, more rapid ways to increase the availability and sustainability of affordable housing.
Since 2012, Wells Fargo has supported sustainable homeownership by providing more down payment assistance grants for homebuyers than any other bank in the U.S. through its philanthropic NeighborhoodLIFT and other LIFT programs in collaboration with NeighborWorks® America. Nearly 22,000 families, the majority of which represent low- and moderate-income households, have achieved sustainable homeownership through LIFT programs, with Wells Fargo investing more than $475 million for down-payment assistance grants and homebuyer support.