I’m Beth Renner. I’m the National Director of Philanthropic Services at Wells Fargo. I lead a team of specialists that work with individuals, families, and nonprofit organizations across the country. We help them achieve their philanthropic goals.
What I mean by that is that we listen to what their goals are around their philanthropic aspirations, we help them understand what options they may have to bring those goals to life, and we work with them on the continuum of their philanthropy. And so we will become involved as much and as little as individuals and organizations want us to, and we help them — what I call — navigate the business of philanthropy.
I grew up in northern Minnesota. I have seven brothers and sisters, and at an early age my parents taught us to make sure that we were always there for each other. And I really think that that was the beginning stages of helping understand how you need to give back and you need to care about other people.
I often share with others that as a philanthropist, you don’t often think about giving to an organization and receiving their services in return. And two months ago, I learned differently. I was sitting at my desk and I received a phone call from my sister that my brother was being admitted to the hospital and he was dying and they didn’t know why. And so I went to the hospital and I saw that they were giving him units of blood. And I asked the nurse when she was giving the blood to him, “Where do you get your blood from?” And she turned to me and she said, “We get it from the American Red Cross. I don’t know what we would do without them.”
And it was at that point that I knew that I was being there for my brother, and for my family, and for my community. And so it was a very personal and moving experience for me.
It’s very fulfilling for me to work for an organization that understands their role as a corporate citizen, supporting their communities and their team members with regards to philanthropy. In 2014 alone, our Wells Fargo team members donated over 1.7 million hours of service into their communities, and so for me it’s very rewarding to see them bring their understanding of philanthropy into our communities.