Wells Fargo, (WFC) the nation's largest mortgage originator, spent $61 million last year funding community grants that paid for improvements on troubled assets, affordable housing developments and loan counseling initiatives within distressed communities. The $61 million expenditure was part of Wells Fargo's $219 million investment in nonprofits for the year 2010. The bank said it gave 9% more when comparing 2010 to 2009. Wells Fargo employees alone contributed $55.3 million to charitable endeavors last year. What remained of the company's $219 million allotment went to artistic, civic, environmental and human services programs. “Everyone has been touched in some way by the current economic challenges, so I couldn’t be more proud of our company and the generosity of our team members,” said John Stumpf, chairman, president and CEO of Wells Fargo in a statement. “Our company continues to be committed to using our financial resources and expertise, working closely with nonprofits and other stakeholders, to create long-term economic growth and quality of life for everyone in the communities we serve.” Wells Fargo's fourth-quarter income rose 21% as most of the company's units grew revenue and the level of nonperforming loans decreased, according to earnings released in mid-January. The mortgage originator said earnings climbed to a record $3.41 billion, or 61 cents a share, from $2.82 billion, or 8 cents a share, a year earlier, which was hurt by the federal redemption of preferred stock received by the government under the Troubled Asset Relief Program in exchange for bailout funds. Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 increased 12% to $21.5 billion from the $20.87 billion the prior quarter and down 5.3% $22.7 billion a year earlier. Write to Kerri Panchuk.