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Inside WFAE

Wells Fargo contributes $200,000 to WFAE Race & Equity Team

Wells Fargo announced Monday a $200,000 contribution to support WFAE increasing its reporting on communities of color and equity. WFAE will use the investment to build its Race & Equity Team. With Wells Fargo’s contribution, WFAE has raised more than $720,000 of their $1.2 million goal to fund the team for three years.

“We believe Wells Fargo has a tremendous opportunity to make a positive impact — at perhaps the most pivotal time in our society — in the communities where we work, live, and serve,” said Gigi Dixon, head of External Engagement at Wells Fargo. “Our support for WFAE connects directly with our commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in ways that will result in sustainable progress and lasting impact.”

“WFAE has been working for years to enhance our programs and services with a variety of voices and perspectives. We proudly boast one of the most diverse audiences of all public radio stations,” said WFAE President & CEO Joe O’Connor. “Wells Fargo’s incredible $200,000 contribution is one of the largest donations WFAE has ever received and will be used to amplify this work through our newly formed Race & Equity Team.”

Envisioned by WFAE’s Chief Content Officer and Executive Vice President Ju-Don Marshall and supported with financial contributions from every member of WFAE’s Board of Directors, WFAE’s Race & Equity Team is a unique group of journalists who work across WFAE’s newsroom to ensure that the station’s coverage is as representative as possible.

“To do this work, we have to increase the level of cultural competency reflected in our work. This team is helping us better connect with communities of color, not just in reporting on them but in listening to them and co-authoring the topics that we cover,” Marshall said. “It’s also important that we explore the intersectionality of the issues we report on. How do you write about housing without considering how race impacts that issue? How do you report on the environment, schools, health care, the arts and more without considering race?”

The team of journalists is led by veteran journalist Sarah Mobley Smith, who came to WFAE with experience working on NPR’s "Morning Edition," "Weekend Edition" and "All Things Considered," as well as reporting/editorial rolls at WEAA in Frederick, Maryland, and WYPR in Baltimore. Joining Mobley Smith on the team are Report for America journalists Gracyn Doctor, Dante Miller and Maria Ramirez Uribe, who also reports for La Noticia through a partnership with WFAE. In addition to regular reports on the challenges and accomplishments of communities of color in the Charlotte region, the team also will create a weekly newsletter titled “EQUALibrium.” Stories and reports produced by the Race & Equity Team will be broadcast on-air and will be available online.

Nearly 50 other individuals and organizations have joined Wells Fargo in supporting the Race & Equity Team’s initial fundraising campaign.

With more than $720,000 committed to the campaign to date, WFAE expects to reach its initial funding goal of $1.2 million much faster than originally planned.

Major supporters joining Wells Fargo in support of WFAE’s Race & Equity Team include:

  • Report for America
  • Mary Tabor Engel & Robert Engel
  • Hugh and Jane McColl
  • The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Paul and Holly Freestone
  • Glenn and Deb Stewart

WFAE will host an in-person, live broadcast on March 8. Scheduled guests include Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles; Charis Blackmon, executive director of West Side Community Land Trust; Sherri Chisholm, executive director of Leading on Opportunity; and Ely Portillo, assistant director of outreach & strategic partnerships at UNC Charlotte's Urban Institute. The conversation will be broadcast live on 90.7 FM, and live streamed to WFAE’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Learn more and RSVP here.

For information about supporting the Race & Equity Team, contact Jeff Bundy at jbundy@wfae.org or donate online at WFAE.org/race-and-equity-team