CASABLANCA September 10, 2009 – Ongoing investment in corporate social responsibility projects across Africa, as part of broader initiatives to invest heavily in the communities in which it operates, are among a range of programs that helped The Western Union Company to win one of the world’s most prestigious awards in corporate philanthropy, the company said today.
The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) recognized Western Union for its $50 million, five-year Our World, Our Family® program to improve the lives of migrant workers at every rung of the financial ladder through education and global economic opportunity initiatives.
Western Union undertakes significant CSR investment in various markets in which it operates. In Africa, this is often in conjunction with its Agents, who work closely with communities in bringing money transfer services to the places people live, work and shop. To date, the Western Union Foundation has invested over US$3.5 million in the region to support projects in the areas of education, skills development and human services.
Overall more than 100 projects have been supported across 30 countries with some of the larger projects encompassing:
The establishment of the Oronsaye Foundation Skill Acquisition Centre in Benin City, Nigeria.
Support for the Alexandra Motswedi Centre, a skills development facility in Johannesburg, South Africa.
An undertaking to build a new eight classroom school building serving an underprivileged community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This is in addition to the donations of school desks to needy schools across eight African countries including Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
A grant to support the education and well-being of orphans at the Pouponnière des Sœurs Franciscaines de Marie de Médina in Senegal.
Most recently, Western Union and the Western Union Foundation joined forces with USAID to launch the African Diaspora Marketplace, a business competition asking U.S. based African Diaspora to create proposals for sustainable, start-up and established businesses that will boost small business-development in sub-Saharan Africa. Western Union has also worked closely with Ecobank and Ervbarr, two of its Agents to ensure maximum support for this program.
The CECP also recognized the company’s commitment to go beyond financial grants by advancing cause through advocacy, employee volunteerism, and in-kind support, such as zero transfer fee post-disaster money transfers. In addition, it also highlighted the company’s focus on migrants and their families and its association with NGO partners such as Mercy Corps to create scalable, sustainable programs, which aim to address the root causes of poverty so migration can be a choice, rather than a necessity, for families worldwide.
“As a world leader in global money transfers, Western Union is uniquely positioned to address the complex needs of migrants and their families, who are often overlooked in traditional philanthropy” CECP said. “Western Union intimately understands issues surrounding migration, and uses this business insight to target local philanthropy around the world for maximum social impact.”
CECP is the only international forum of corporate CEOs focused exclusively on corporate philanthropy with a mission to raise the level and quality of corporate philanthropy.
Christina A. Gold, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western Union, said: “In the past, we tended to make small grants to many projects. Our World, Our Family places more emphasis on core projects and is a superb example of how companies can make a greater impact by leveraging off their resources and knowledge from their core businesses.”
Khalid Fellahi, senior vice president for Africa at Western Union said this award is not just for Western Union. “A key to multiplying the impact of corporate philanthropy is recruiting a company’s business network. It is thanks to our Agents, customers and employees joining hands that we can do much more in migrant communities”, he said.
With a unique role in facilitating connections between families via 385,000 locations in 200 countries and territories (including its Orlandi Valuta and Pago Facil branded services, and as of July 2009), Western Union offers an intimate understanding of the issues surrounding migration and this unique population’s need for economic opportunity and education. It uses this business insight to target local philanthropy for maximum social impact. The company’s philanthropic objectives are to enrich the lives of people in the communities it serves, expanding economic opportunity through education, human services, and humanitarian aid and disaster relief efforts.
With hands-on leadership from Western Union CEO Christina Gold, the company’s employee volunteerism involved an employee month of giving, plus a paid time-off volunteer effort to encourage involvement of the company’s 5,700 employees
Since its inception in 2007, Western Union’s Our World, Our Family program logged more than 2,000 employee volunteer hours of service, launched 300 new migrant businesses, engaged 1,800 NGOs in 100 countries, distributed 110,000 learning packs that help migrants adjust to their new communities, allocated more than $300,000 for scholarships, and helped Diaspora groups in the United States raise more than $500,000. In addition, more than $4.5 million has been generated in employee and agent gifts.
Western Union also sponsored research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit to gather data that resulted in more informed decision-making about issues surrounding migration, and engaged a host of organizations such as the InterAmerican Development Bank, International Organization for Migration, The World Bank, Migration Policy Institute, and Mercy Corps.
 Since 2001
For further information please contact:
Communications Manager: Africa
+27 11 549 3310
The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (www.CorporatePhilanthropy.com) is the only international network of corporate leaders actively working to affect positive change through corporate philanthropy. Its mission is to lead the business community in raising the level and quality of corporate philanthropy. CECP’s 175 members include CEOs and chairpersons of the world’s largest and most well-regarded corporations from a diverse and broad range of industry sectors.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in the money transfer segment of global payments. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta and Pago Fácil branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, as well as send payments and purchase money orders. Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta operate through a combined network of more than 385,000 Agent locations in 200 countries and territories. Famous for its pioneering telegraph services, the original Western Union dates back to 1851. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.
About the Western Union Foundation
Through Western Union’s Our World, Our Family® signature program, the Western Union Foundation supports initiatives to empower individuals, families and communities through access to better education and economic opportunity. Recognized by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy in 2009, the program is a five year, $50 million commitment reflecting the efforts made by Western Union employees, Agents, and partners around the world. Since its inception, the Western Union Foundation has awarded almost $55 million in grants and disaster relief to over 1,870 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in 100 countries. For more information, visit http://foundation.westernunion.com.