Western Union Foundation disaster response in 2020

Go Global By Emily Larson May 4, 2020

According to the International Disaster Database, Em-Dat, natural disasters affect more than 200 million people each year. For victims of natural disasters, necessities become even more essential. The impact on the affected area’s infrastructure creates challenges to those trying to rebuild their lives, beyond basic necessities such as food and shelter. Along with the need for food and shelter, there’s also the impact on the area’s infrastructure that can create even more challenges to those trying to rebuild and restore control of their lives.

The Western Union Foundation provides funds to nonprofits supporting urgent relief and recovery for people in crisis. We align our efforts with those of The Western Union Company, which is positioned to support aid efforts, due to its global presence and ability to make cash accessible for those in need.

This year, the Western Union Foundation has responded to the below crises:

Australia Bushfires | January 2020

Australia’s worst wildfires in recorded history raged across New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania. Learn more about the Foundation’s response here.

Western Union Foundation:
Supported the Australian Red Cross with an initial USD $50,000 grant and matched employee donations.

Dedicated more than $15,000 in in-app consumer donations to the bushfires.

Australian Red Cross:
Provided emergency shelter, food and hygiene to evacuees.

Western Union:
Committed USD $50,000 and Western Union Agent Direct Flights International – Australia, committed USD $5,000 matched 1:1 by the Foundation.

Puerto Rico Earthquakes | January 2020

A series of two earthquakes struck Puerto Rico, a community still recovering from devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Learn more of the Foundation’s response here.

Western Union Foundation:
Supported the American Red Cross with an initial USD $25,000 grant and matched employee donations.

American Red Cross:
Provided emergency care, family assistance and supplies.

Western Union:
Offered fee-free transfer to the American Red Cross and committed USD $25,000.


Building Resilient Communities, Philippines l January 2020

Photo Credit: International Medical Corps

Invested in the International Medical Corps as the Western Union Foundation’s 2020 Disaster Preparedness Partner.

Western Union Foundation:
Supported the International Medical Corps with a USD $100,000 grant.

International Medical Corps:
Providing relief efforts and disaster preparedness training for local frontline health workers, officials and community members in the Philippines, through its ‘Building Resilient Communities in the Philippines’ program.

Southern US Flooding and Tornadoes | February 2020

Two tornadoes struck Nashville, Tennessee, killing many and left many more without shelter. The storms disheveled home sand historic buildings in the Germantown neighborhood. Flooding also devasted various southern states, including Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Western Union Foundation:
Supported the American Red Cross with a USD $15,000 grant and matched employee donations.

American Red Cross
Provided clean water, food and shelter to the people impacted by the storms.

COVID-19 Global Response | February 2020

Photo Credit: International Medical Corps

On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, as cases continue to spread around the world. The Western Union Foundation announced a  USD $1M global matching challenge to raise money for nonprofits supporting COVID-19 relief efforts. Read here for the latest update.

Western Union Foundation:
With Western Union, a combined commitment of USD $800K to support domestic hunger-relief and global healthcare systems serving vulnerable populations, including refugees and migrants.

Give 2 Asia:
Deliver critical medical supplies including hundreds of thousands of masks to protect health workers and at-risk populations, tens of thousands of liters of disinfectant for hospitals and meals for medical staff and patients.

International Medical Corps: 
COVID-19 training for healthcare workers in the Philippines for infection prevention, control, and to prepare for a surge in cases; personal protective equipment, including gloves, goggles, gowns and hundreds of thousands of masks to the Manila Health Department for frontline healthcare workers safe; and set up of screening and triage tents at a hospital in Manila.

UN Foundation COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund:
Support the World Health Organization’s work to track and understand the spread of the virus, ensure patients get the care they need and frontline workers get essential supplies and information, and to accelerate research and development of a vaccine and treatments for all who need them.

Learn more about 2019 disaster response here.