Wells Fargo Announces Million Dollar Donation to Villa Esperanza Services

Funding Granted To Help Meet Urgent Need & Nonprofit Capital Campaign Goal

Published : Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 2:28 PM

Detail of Campus Entry for Villa Street

This Autism Awareness Month, Wells Fargo announces a million dollar grant to Villa Esperanza Services for the most urgent needs of their $18 million capital campaign. Villa Esperanza Services is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the care and education of children, adults and seniors with developmental, intellectual and other disabilities.

The announcement comes during the month of April, recognized as Autism Awareness Month, helping raise awareness about the spectrum disorder that is currently suspected to affect up to 1 in 68 children, with the rate even higher in boys with 1 in 42 diagnosed with the disorder in the United States.

Ricki Robinson, MD

“Autism is one of the fastest growing childhood epidemics of our time. Soon these autistic children will be adults, and it is more important than ever for professionals and parents to increase their knowledge about successful treatment models, and for society to create systems that acknowledge the needs of its citizens on the autism spectrum,” explains Ricki Robinson, MD, a clinical leader holding a Masters of Public Health and Villa Esperanza Services board member. “Villa Esperanza Services is truly part of the daily solution for families and one of the only nonprofits extending full continuity of care, helping children and adults alike.”

The capital campaign entitled “Hope Moves Forward” reflects the organization’s namesake meaning “House of Hope” founded by a group of mothers in 1961 to help their children with disabilities.

Joe Defur

“Due to the urgent need in our community, and as a result of the passion and confidence we have in the mission of Villa Esperanza Services, Wells Fargo is proud to support the organization during this critical time,” said Joe Defur, Wells Fargo Private Bank senior managing director for California and Villa Esperanza board member. “For the past 21 years Wells Fargo executives have served on Villa Esperanza Services’ board of directors to help bring hope to families in Southern California, and the need for improvements at Villa Esperanza has never been more vital.”

The first phase of the capital campaign master plan is a nine million dollar goal that will allow the organization to build a new school and purchase and renovate a new permanent home for the adult day program. This will allow for an increase in school enrollment by 41 percent and 36 percent in the adult day program. Villa Esperanza Services plans to break ground in July 2015. Phase two of the capital campaign will begin shortly thereafter, and is another nine million dollar goal, which will help complete the renovation including new occupational and physical therapy facilities and administrative offices.

David DiCristofaro

“At Wells Fargo we know we can only be as strong as the strength of the communities we serve, and with autism rates on the rise it is more important than ever to help the professionals and families in need of successful treatment models and programs,” said David DiCristofaro, Wells Fargo president of Greater Los Angeles. “Wells Fargo believes so strongly in the urgent need and effectiveness of the services Villa Esperanza provides that this donation is coming from our national philanthropy budget and is above and beyond our annual local giving. When you see the dedication of the staff and the amazing outcomes of the students, it becomes crystal clear that the work Villa Esperanza is doing is making an important impact.”

In 2013 Wells Fargo was named top corporate philanthropist locally and nationally, donating $275 million to nonprofit and community organizations across the country, with $29 million donated in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

About Villa Esperanza Services

Villa Esperanza Services is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the care and education of children, adults and seniors with developmental, intellectual and other disabilities. Villa Esperanza Services offers nine programs including a comprehensive education center for children up to the age of 22 years; a speech and language center and occupational therapy clinic providing children, adults and seniors with comprehensive therapies; employment services; day programs for adults; and adult residences in Pasadena and Thousand Oaks. To learn more about Villa’s collaborative approach, log on to www.VillaEsperanzaServices.org.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.5 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 locations, 12,000 ATMs, and the internet (wellsfargo.com), and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With more than 264,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 25 on Fortune’s 2013 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at blogs.wellsfargo.com.

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