Western Union Foundation’s continued support for those in need

Go Global By Emily Larson April 6, 2020

Western Union Foundation Deploys USD $1.3M for ‘Opportunities Beyond Borders’, Global Disaster Relief Efforts and Launches COVID-19 Relief Campaign in Q1 2020

Now more than ever, the Western Union Foundation’s commitment to fostering and maintaining connections in communities around the globe is needed.

In the spirit of the Western Union Foundation’s mission to empower forcibly displaced and marginalized youth to gain global 21st century economic opportunities, the Foundation has deployed USD $1.3M in support of its Opportunity Beyond Borders initiative in the first quarter of 2020.

Additionally, in February, Western Union and the Western Union Foundation launched a USD $1M global matching challenge to help fight COVID-19. The Foundation is accepting contributions through April 14, 2020, with a goal of raising USD $500,000. The aid will be pledged to local and global non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for ongoing relief efforts throughout the world, including purchasing supplies, equipment and frontline medical treatment. Read the latest updates on this relief effort here.

Opportunities Beyond Borders, launched in September 2019, is a $15 million commitment to invest in NGO programs and research across five continents by 2022. These programs are equipping people on the move with the technology and entrepreneurship skills needed to thrive in the jobs of the future as well as provide other critical supports like counseling, career guidance, and scholarships.

Below are two examples highlighting how Opportunities Beyond Borders grant dollars are being put into action today:

Kodluyoruz Derneği

Kodluyoruz Derneği (“We Code”) is working to make Turkey a worldwide talent hub in the technology sector by empowering unemployed and underemployed youth in coding bootcamps and providing job integration for refugee youth. Turkey currently hosts 3.6 million refugees and has the youngest population in its region with 13 million youth ages 18-24 and 1 million Syrian youth ages 15-24. Turkey also has one of the highest youth unemployment rates with one in three young people neither employed nor enrolled in education or training programs. Businesses also have a problem: There just isn’t enough tech talent to match the growing demand. 61% of tech companies in Turkey say that their biggest challenge is finding qualified talent. The country also has the lowest number of developers per capita in Europe.

Kodluyoruz and the Western Union Foundation have partnered to tackle these issues through a tech skills and job readiness bootcamp that will serve 240 youth, half refugees and women ages 18-24 by offering web development, mobile app development, and data science and machine learning bootcamps, as well as tech career linkages for graduates and social integration support.

Plan International USA

Plan International USA, a development and humanitarian organization that advances equality for girls and children’s rights around the world, and the Western Union Foundation are partnering in the Philippines to address rising unemployment rates among youth. This challenge has been driven by skill-to-market mismatch and youth disillusionment with the labor market caused by the prevalence of temporary employment as opposed to full-time options in the region. These challenges are further exacerbated for marginalized groups such as women and forcibly displaced individuals that don’t have access to training or work opportunities, many of whom have reported experiencing a pattern of discrimination in job recruitment processes as a result of their social and economic circumstances.

Electronics student from Occidental Mindoro. These women want to prove that tech-voc skills have no gender. Women are free to pursue TVET and tech-voc jobs, free from fear and discrimination.

Plan’s You(th)Connect Philippines program addresses these challenges through activities focused on strengthening the skills and assets of young people, fostering ambitions for further job-seeking, and addressing demand-side entry barriers through private sector engagement, particularly for young women and migrant youth. By partnering with the Western Union Foundation, the program will support 300 youth ages 18 – 24 (50% young women), from communities devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 as well as the Marawi siege in 2017.


Additionally, the Western Union Foundation’s most recent grant round is supporting the following projects and programs:

Organization Program Focus Location
Center for Global Development (CGD) A multi-year program in collaboration with Refugees International (RI) for research and outreach to policymakers and businesses to expand refugee access to the formal labor market. Colombia, Peru, Ethiopia, Afghanistan
 American Red Cross Funds will support the American Red Cross’ response efforts to Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas and will include relief supplies, shelter and health services. Bahamas
 Casa Emanuel Education related expenses for children in an orphanage that are abandoned in Guinea Bissau. Guinea Bissau
International Medical Corps Disaster Preparedness Workshop Program that will include a series of planning workshops for 20 health officials and community members with front line life support and first aid training. Philippines
 Fundacion Genesis Training and skills development for 140 vulnerable youth focused on decreasing school drop-out rates and providing access to employment and reintegration programs. Costa Rica
 Mehr ist Moglich SEED Program, an incubator for projects that generate equal opportunities for socio-economically deprived children, with a focus on immigrants that aims to close the education and skills gap. Austria
 Caritas Austria Support for 600 underprivileged students under 15 years old in Austria with school materials, remedial teaching, excursions and school project weeks. Austria
 Re:Coded Prepares conflict-affected youth to enter the digital economy as software developers, entrepreneurs and tech leaders in Turkey. Turkey
Metropolitan State University of Denver Foundation Support first-year immigrant students with $2,000 scholarships and academic and social support to advance their retention and academic success in Metro Denver. United States
COSTI Immigrant Services Youth Employment Pathways to Success will provide forcibly displaced youth with access to STEM employment and/or education/training opportunities. Canada
International Rescue Committee IRC and partners are providing refugees in Germany—with a focus on women—with critical skills, relevant and secure jobs, and support to integrate into their new communities. Germany