Wednesday, May 06, 2015

President's Blog: Celebrating $100 Million of WU Foundation Giving

Patrick_GastonThis year, the Western Union Foundation is celebrating a key milestone – surpassing US$100 million in charitable giving around the world.

Our first grants, made in 2001, supported earthquake relief efforts in India and El Salvador. One hundred and forty-two disaster relief efforts later, the Foundation along with Western Union, its employees and Agents, are once again heeding the call for help, this time to support earthquake relief efforts in Nepal. The Foundation committed US$200,000 to support NGO relief efforts. Qualifying Western Union® employee and Agent contributions are being matched.

At the same time, the Western Union Company is offering a limited time, “fee free*” program for money sent to the affected area from participating Agent locations and through in select countries. It’s a coordinated effort that utilizes our combined expertise, generosity, reach and NGO relationships to help people when they need it most. And this is the key thread that is woven throughout our history and our charitable giving efforts.  

For example, in 2007, the Western Union Company launched Western Union’s Our World, Our Family® program, paving the way for Western Union, employees, Agents and the Western Union Foundation to have a greater impact by standing behind one important social cause. This was a five-year, US$50 million program aimed at addressing the root causes of poverty – which too often make migration a necessity, rather than a choice, for people around the world. The program helped make life better for more than five million people.

Recognizing that education is one of the surest paths to a better life, in September 2012, Western Union and the Foundation launched Education for Better, a three-year commitment to education. This coordinated effort leverages corporate assets, Foundation philanthropy and employee engagement to support secondary and vocational education programs around the world. As part of the commitment, the Foundation pledged an average of $10,000 per day for more than 1,000 days in potential grant funding for NGOs working in the education space. In late December 2014, the Foundation exceeded this goal, having reached more than $11.5 million in grants and donations, a year ahead of schedule.

Since 2001, we have helped millions of people in 65 countries recover and rebuild their lives following disasters. We’ve helped individuals, families and communities in 135 countries and territories start businesses, learn job skills, access education and economic opportunity. But this is just the beginning. There are millions more who need our help. There are women like Bina in India who couldn’t sign her name. She’s now are learning to read, write and do basic math, alongside their children. There are girls like Maryam in rural Nigeria who are receiving scholarships to train to be teachers. They’ll earn a living, while serving as role models for young girls and their parents. And many young men like Norman in the Philippines will be able to experience a brighter future by learning to become mechanics or computer technicians. But they need our support to make it happen.

While it’s important to reflect on this milestone achievement, we still have work to do. I’m deeply honored to work alongside Western Union employees, and to be able to count on the support from Western Union Agents and business partners, to help write the next chapter of the Western Union Foundation.

*Western Union makes money on the exchange of currencies.

The Western Union Foundation Surpasses US$100M Charitable Global Giving Milestone

Since 2001, the Western Union Foundation has made more than 3,000 grants supporting NGOs worldwide


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.-- The Western Union Foundation today announced it has surpassed a major milestone, donating more than US$100 million in support to more than 2,700 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide support to thousands of families and individuals in more than 135 countries and territories.

The Western Union Foundation works with a full spectrum of large global NGOs to small local non-profits and charities worldwide including UNICEF, Save the Children, Mercy Corps, Pratham and others.

From increasing global access to school and improving the quality of education to providing relief and rebuilding efforts for families and communities impacted by disasters worldwide, the Western Union Foundation has supported charitable organizations dedicated to providing a better future for individuals, families and communities throughout the world (video).

“Western Union is in the business of enhancing the lives of consumers by providing better ways to move money to their family, friends and business partners in more than 200 countries and territories,” said Hikmet Ersek , president and CEO, Western Union. “I am especially proud to celebrate this milestone of the Western Union Foundation with our Western Union Agents, employees and NGO partners that have truly helped the Foundation create a better world.”

Patrick Gaston , president, the Western Union Foundation, added, “We are so proud to celebrate this milestone with organizations that have partnered with us through the years to ensure the Foundation’s contributions are improving the lives of countless individuals worldwide. This remarkable achievement says a great deal about not only the power of partnership with NGOs, small local non-profits, and charities around the world, but the tireless support from the more than 500 Western Union Agents and thousands of Western Union employees who gave their time and money to support our mission.”

In 2013 and 2014, more than 72 percent of all Western Union employees, or 7,580 employees across 53 countries, made a donation to the Western Union Foundation. In addition, the Foundation has partnered with hundreds of Western Union Agents and vendor partners to create a true collaborative partnership instrumental in reaching this milestone.


Education plays a powerful role in changing people’s lives for better – translating into stronger, more resilient communities and economies worldwide. These are the reasons why Western Union and the Western Union Foundation established Education for Better, a three-year commitment to education. Unveiled during the launch of the UN Education First initiative in September 2012, Education for Better leverages Western Union shared value products and services, cause marketing, advocacy, corporate and Western Union Foundation strategic philanthropy, employee engagement, and communications to support secondary and vocational education programs around the world. To date, the Western Union Education for Better has provided more than US$11.6 million to enhance education efforts for an estimated 500,000 students and teachers worldwide, including:

  • PASS Initiative: Launched in May 2013, The Western Union Company, the Western Union Foundation and UNICEF teamed up to harness the power of sports through Western Union’s partnership with the UEFA Europa League to build global awareness of the need for greater investment in education. As the global partner of the UEFA Europa League, Western Union committed to turning every successful pass through its sponsorship of the competition, into funds to enable access for children to one million days of education. To achieve this goal, Western Union has committed to a $1.8 million, three-year grant through the Western Union Foundation to support UNICEF education programs in 10 countries. Now in its third year, PASS Initiative grant funding has already supported UNICEF education programs in Jamaica, Nigeria, Turkey, Brazil, Senegal, Morocco and China, with support for programs in Colombia, Mexico and Romania scheduled to begin later this year.
  • Teach For All Global Partnership: Initially started in 2013, the Western Union Foundation has committed more than US$750,000 to support Teach For All and their mission to expand educational opportunity across the globe. In addition, the Foundation has also committed an additional US$200,000 to support Teach For All Network partners in Mexico, India, the United Kingdom, Austria, Argentina, and Australia. The 36 partner organizations in Teach For All’s global network are currently fielding more than 16,000 teachers and reaching over one million students.

Disaster Relief & Emergency Situations

When a natural disaster strikes and emergencies happen, the Western Union Foundation works with numerous relief organizations to help individuals and families rebuild their lives. To date, the Foundation has supported more than 140 disaster relief operations in 65 countries worldwide, including:

  • Nepal Earthquake Relief: The Western Union Foundation is committing US$200,000 to support the relief efforts through discretionary and matching grants in partnership with Western Union employees, Agents, and business customers.
  • Ebola Virus Outbreak Challenge: In December 2014, the Western Union Foundation issued a challenge to the business community and general public to support the relief efforts in West Africa by providing more than US$500,000 in matching funds to Save the Children and International Medical Corps.
  • Hurricane Sandy: In 2012, the Western Union Foundation again partnered with Western Union Agents and employees in the U.S. to provide more than US$660,000 toward the American Red Cross and the IFRC’s relief efforts in the United States northeast and parts of the Caribbean.

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 paid more than $101.1 million in grants and other giving. These funds have been pledged to more than 2,739 non-governmental organizations in more than 135 countries and territories. The Western Union Foundation is a separate §501(c)(3) recognized United States charity. To learn more, visit, or follow us on Twitter @TheWUFoundation.

Western Union
Brad Jones, +1 (720) 332-1262

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Western Union Foundation Surpasses US$100 Million in Charitable Global Giving Milestone