Allspring will donate 15% of the net management fees for the newly-created share class to the Native Forward Scholars Fund, an Albuquerque, N.M.-based organization that provides scholarship support for Native American undergraduate, graduate and professional students.
Dawson Her Many Horses, managing director and head of Native American banking at Wells Fargo, said the new share class was reflective of the bank's history of banking ties with tribal communities.
"We've worked in this space for over 65 years. This is a long-standing business for Wells Fargo, and, in a lot of respects, reflects our history and roots as a bank with a history in the Western U.S.," Her Many Horses said. "We try to integrate tribes into all the work we do."
Her Many Horses added that Wells Fargo has banking relationships with one third of the nearly 600 federally-recognized tribes, as well as credit commitments of $3.4 billion to tribal borrowers and $4.1 billion in deposits from tribal clients.
The Tribal Inclusion shares are the latest way the bank says it is giving back to the tribal communities it serves: between 2017 and 2022, it gave $50 million to Native American and Native Alaskan causes, and earlier this year it launched the $20 million Invest Native initiative, a collaboration with Native-led charitable organizations in six Western states. Around $9 million has flowed into Native Forward over the years.
Randall Lacayo, who leads Wells Fargo's capital markets diverse segments business, said that the bank has already received interest in the new share class from a number of different institutional clients.
"The reception has been very strong. This is such a unique opportunity for corporate institutional investors to make a positive impact on Native American communities, and that is important to us," he said. "It's a very meaningful opportunity for us to raise awareness across the corporate and institutional investment community about the needs of American Indian and Alaska native communities."
In the 50-plus years since it was founded, Native Forward has provided scholarships to more than 20,000 students from over 500 different tribes.
Though the launch of the new Tribal Inclusion share class comes during Native American Heritage Month, Allspring's deputy chief diversity officer Sonya Rorie says the timing is just a coincidence – and that the launch is more about the "natural alignment" between the three participants.
"It has nothing to do with the release of this Tribal Inclusion class, but if you think about this underserved community, it's important. We live here in America, and we must address the needs of those communities," Rorie said.