Home Page Banner

Western Union Foundation 2018 Impact Report


Letter from the Executive Director, Western Union Foundation

For millions of children and young adults around the world, 2018 was a year of upheaval created by forced migration and natural disasters.

Today, many young people around the world are not learning the skills they need to succeed in the global economy, indicating a growing learning crisis. The challenge is heightened by the increase of people on the move, including 26 million youth, who are without access to education and workforce skills training.

In 2018 we also saw natural disasters continue an upward trend in frequency and severity, devastating vulnerable communities.

The Western Union Foundation responds to these changes by connecting underserved communities to the global economy through education and disaster relief.

Thank you to our nonprofit partners and donors for your collaboration to create meaningful change in 2018.

Content Image

Our Mission

We believe that education is the surest pathway to economic opportunity - leading to improved job placements and increased earning potential. We collaborate with nonprofits around the world to provide demand-driven skills training and workforce enablement programs for the people who need it most. Our flagship program Education for Better seeks to provide opportunity for 50,000 people by 2020. We also offer the global scholarship program, WU Scholars, focused on supporting students globally who are pursuing a post-secondary education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, business and entrepreneurship. Separately we support disaster relief and humanitarian aid efforts to provide immediate relief and sustainable rebuilding for communities in crisis.

Workforce Training

According to the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, there is a growing gap between the skills that job-seekers possess and the skills that are required by employers.

Using an invitation-based process, the Foundation works with a wide range of nonprofits to teach the tools that help people thrive in the jobs of the future.

We are close to achieving our 2020 goal of providing 50,000 migrants, refugees, women and youth with equal access to the global economy.

Workforce Training in Action

Youth displaced by conflict often do not have equal opportunity for education and employment. Our collaboration with the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative trains conflict affected youth to teach others the skills needed to promote peace and enter the workplace or become entrepreneurs. To date, the collaboration has reached 10,000 youth in Uganda.

Mary fled South Sudan as a child. With the support of WPDI, she is now a leader in the Kiryandongo refugee settlement. In October, the Foundation invited Mary to join Western Union delegates at the One Young World summit in The Netherlands to become an ambassador for change.

Scholarship Program

For many young people, a post-secondary education is out of reach.

In collaboration with Western Union, we fund scholars studying science, technology, engineering, math, business and entrepreneurship.

WU Scholars in Action

Oliver is one of the first WU Scholars in Denver. His connection to the Foundation provided him with opportunities beyond the scholarship, including a 2018 summer and winter internship with Western Union’s Internal Audit department.

Disaster Relief

Natural and economic crises are one of the main causes of forced migration. Our collaboration with Western Union expands our reach, and together we were at the forefront of 13 major natural disaster relief efforts in 2018.

Hurricane Florence

In 2018, Western Union and the Western Union Foundation partnered with the American Red Cross to provide support to communities devastated by Hurricane Florence. This support provided evacuation centers, meals, sanitation equipment, recovery supplies, and mental health services.

Other Ways We Deliver Impact

We Advocate for Change

The Foundation advocates for social change.

#IAmMore demonstrated that refugees have rich, meaningful lives beyond their current circumstances. They are doctors, artists, teachers, entrepreneurs… they are more than just a refugee.

Employees Engage

Employees engage through volunteering, direct giving, and gift match. Additionally through WU Gives, our employees are empowered to nominate and select nonprofits in their local region for Western Union Foundation funding.

Recent WU Gives winner, Make a Difference, works with youth in India, transforming the outcomes for children in shelter homes and giving them an equal chance at success. Their programming has a university attendance rate of 80% compared to the standard 20% expected for youths in shelter homes.

View the Impact Report in its entirety here.