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Thursday, April 17, 2014

President's Blog: Engaging the Private Sector in Support of Education


Patrick_GastonLast month in Dubai, I joined Western Union® colleagues, Jean Claude (JC) Farah, president, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and CIS, and Ingrid Sahu, vice president, communications for these same regions, at the Global Education & Skills Forum. The Forum, organized by UNESCO, the Varkey GEMS Foundation, and the UAE Ministry of Education, brought together heads of government to meet with invited business and NGO leaders from around the world, with the purpose of strengthening ties and engaging the private sector in support of the UN Global Education First Initiative.

This year’s Forum, “Exchanging Our Vision: Employment, Education, and Equity,” featured leading experts committed to solving the global educational crisis through educational transformation. It was extremely powerful to see so many public and private organizations coming together to address the most pressing challenges to achieving universal education. One key theme that I kept hearing was the need for the private sector to get involved, helping grow businesses and economies by addressing inequality in education – specifically by tackling the problem of high youth unemployment via secondary education and vocational training.

This event brought new ideas and collaboration to the table that can enhance and strengthen our efforts to support secondary and vocational education across the globe. It also underscored the importance of the work that the Western Union Foundation is doing, via grants and other activities that foster and promote education, through Western Union’s Education for Better initiative. Education for Better is a 3-year, corporate-led initiative to help meet global education goals.
 
For example, a recent grant to the Trust for the Americas POETA program helped provide vocational, financial literacy and job training opportunities for 600 young, at-risk Mexicans from vulnerable neighborhoods. Another grant, to Give2 Asia, is providing 25 young migrants with two years of free training in electrical maintenance at the BN Vocational School in Dalian, China. And our partnership with Teach for All is helping grow a critical mass of global leaders through organizations in 32 countries that recruit top university graduates to commit two years to teach in their countries' highest-need communities, invest in their development as teachers, and foster their ongoing leadership as a force for change.

Education is a key that can unlock the door for many, playing a powerful role in creating economic opportunity, and bringing a host of benefits to local communities and society for generations to come. We invite you to join us in committing to support efforts to make access to quality education a reality for all.

 



Monday, March 17, 2014

The Western Union Foundation Continues to Support Global Education Initiatives with Fourth Quarter Grants of US$1.15 Million

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — March 17, 2014 — The Western Union Foundation today announced its fourth quarter 2013 grant commitment of US$1.15 million, which will be distributed across more than 25 nonprofit, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the world. In 2013, the Western Union Foundation provided grants totaling more than US$6.8 million.

The grants help increase access to – and improve the quality of – education programs in multiple regions. Through its signature program Education for Better, the Western Union Foundation is committed to supporting secondary and vocational education programs that facilitate financial and economic opportunity for individuals, their families, and their communities.

“Education for Better provides assistance for education programs in key markets, and leverages the strength of The Western Union Company’s global network to achieve a tangible social impact on the communities and customers we serve,” said Patrick Gaston, president of the Western Union Foundation. “We are pleased with the impact of Education for Better as we approach the mid-point of our three-year commitment, and we will continue to seek opportunities to support NGOs that provide valuable education programs that set the framework for financial inclusion and economic development.”

Since the launch of Education for Better in the fourth quarter of 2012, the Western Union Foundation has committed more than $7.6 million in key markets around the globe, in support of the program. The Foundation’s Education for Better grants have reached nearly 120 NGOs in 40 countries. 

NGOs receiving a grant as part of the Western Union Foundation fourth quarter 2013 cycle include:

  • A grant to Aldeas Infantiles SOS Péru, funded in conjunction with Western Union Agent DHL Express (Péru), will support the GoTeach program, which empowers disadvantaged youth to achieve an independent life through a multi-stage educational program that is designed to prepare them for employment.
  • The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) will receive a grant to support the NGO’s ongoing work with the Bright China Foundation (BCF) to implement a classroom-based “Business Camp” curriculum in vocational schools across nine Chinese provinces.  The collaboration between NFTE and BCF reaches approximately 38,000 students in China.
  • The International Rescue Committee has been awarded a grant to help fund the Youth & Livelihoods in Ethiopia program.  The grant will allow the IRC to develop an entrepreneurship and business skills training curriculum and toolkit, which addresses the critical need to enable financial education among refugee youth in Ethiopia. 
  • Pratham USA will receive a grant to expand the Arora Institute for Vocational Training.  Pratham will set up residential and non-residential training Centers in up to 17 states in India to address the need of employability and the acquisition of industry-specific skills among India’s youth.

 In addition to the grant cycle, during the fourth quarter of 2013, the Western Union Foundation, in conjunction with Western Union Agents, business partners and employees, committed more than US$270,000 for disaster relief efforts in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan.

Additional information, including the mission and purpose of the Western Union Foundation, can be found at www.westernunionfoundation.org.

About The Western Union Foundation
The Western Union Foundation is dedicated to creating a better world, where the ability to realize dreams through economic opportunity is not just a privilege for the few but a right for all.  Through its signature program, Education for Better, and with the support of The Western Union Company, its employees, Agents, and business partners, The Western Union Foundation works to realize this vision by supporting education and disaster relief efforts as pathways toward a better future. Our combined social ventures efforts make life better for individuals, families and communities around the world. Since its inception, The Western Union Foundation has committed more than $93.9 million in grants and other giving to more than 2,708 nongovernmental organizations in more than 133 countries and territories. The Western Union Foundation, is a separate §501(c)(3) recognized United States charity. To learn more, visit www.westernunionfoundation.org.

About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of December 31, 2013, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of over 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and over 100,000 ATMs. In 2013, The Western Union Company completed 242 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $82 billion of principal between consumers, and 459 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com



Friday, March 07, 2014

The Western Union Foundation Celebrates International Women’s Day with US$125,000 Grant to Mercy Corps

Grant will Support the Collaborative Efforts of Mercy Corps and the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation as Part of the Western Union Education for Better Program

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — March 7, 2014 — In recognition of International Women’s Day, the Western Union Foundation today announced a grant of USD$125,000 to Mercy Corps.  

The grant from the Western Union Foundation will support the work of Mercy Corps, in collaboration with the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA), to provide female workers in China with professional development and leadership skills training, which sets the foundation for better life skills, such as budgeting and navigating workplace issues.

The grant is part of the Western Union Foundation’s signature program, Education for Better.  Education for Better is a multi-year commitment from the Western Union Foundation to help meet global education goals by supporting secondary, vocational and life skills training programs that enable financial opportunity for individuals, their families, and their communities.

“Education for Better provides assistance for education programs in key markets, and leverages the strength of The Western Union Company’s global network to achieve a tangible social impact on the communities and customers we serve,” said Patrick Gaston, president of the Western Union Foundation.  “On International Women’s Day, we are pleased to support the work of Mercy Corps and the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, as they help inspire the next generation of women in China to achieve their life goals and increase their economic potential.”

Founded in 1979, Mercy Corps is a leading global humanitarian agency saving and improving lives in the world’s toughest places. With a network of experienced professionals in more than 40 countries, Mercy Corps partners with local communities to put bold ideas into action to help people recover, overcome hardship and build better lives.

Established in 1989, the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation supports communities and individuals living in poverty with programs designed to help improve productivity, increase healthcare and other living standards, and facilitate sustainable social development.  Since its founding, the CFPA has raised nearly 900 million Yuan for more than 200 poverty reduction projects, directly helping more than two million poor people across China.

In 2013, the Western Union Foundation committed more than $6.8 million to more than 95 NGOs in 31 countries, facilitating education, professional development and disaster relief programs for individuals, families and communities in need.

Additional information, including the mission and purpose of the Western Union Foundation, can be found at www.westernunionfoundation.org.



About The Western Union Foundation
The Western Union Foundation is dedicated to creating a better world, where the ability to realize dreams through economic opportunity is not just a privilege for the few but a right for all.  Through its signature program, Education for Better, and with the support of The Western Union Company, its employees, Agents, and business partners, The Western Union Foundation works to realize this vision by supporting education and disaster relief efforts as pathways toward a better future.  Our combined social ventures efforts make life better for individuals, families and communities around the world.  Since its inception, The Western Union Foundation has committed more than $93.9 million in grants and other giving to more than 2,708 nongovernmental organizations in more than 133 countries and territories. The Western Union Foundation, is a separate §501(c)(3) recognized United States charity.  To learn more, visit www.westernunionfoundation.org.

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