Western Union Initiative Reaches One Million PASSes Milestone

Press Release By Western Union Published OnMay 26, 2015

WARSAW, Poland–(BUSINESS WIRE)– On the eve of the 2015 UEFA Europa League Final between FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and Sevilla FC at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland, Global Partner of the UEFA Europa Leaguethe Western Union Company (NYSE:WU), a leader in global payment services, and the Western Union Foundation, announced that their PASS initiative has reached its goal of one million passes to support better education for children globally.

Launched in September 2012, the PASS initiative has turned every successful pass made during the Group and Knock Out Stages of the 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15 UEFA Europa League into funding that supports secondary education for young people in key markets. With the goal of supporting the delivery of one million days of education by the end of 2015, Western Union committed to a $1.8 million, three-year grant through the Western Union Foundation to support UNICEF’s secondary education programs for youth in 10 countries (video).

“Moving money for better is at the heart of what we do, and education is one of the main reasons Western Union customers send money,” said Patrick Gaston, president, Western Union Foundation. “According to UNICEF, 63 million adolescents globally are not enrolled in secondary or vocational education. It’s a tremendous loss of economic and human potential, since each extra year of school can increase an individual’s potential economic opportunity.

“Three years ago, at the start of the Western Union sponsorship of the UEFA Europa League, we set out to deliver on our commitment. Today, I am proud to say that we have delivered on that commitment to provide access to better education and the projects supported by PASS funds are already making a difference. I’d like to express my thanks to all those involved in the initiative, particularly UNICEF, which has been implementing critically-needed education programs to help children complete school and have a brighter future, as well as all the players, fans, customers and staff who have all contributed.”

The PASS initiative is supporting educational projects including: teacher training and curriculum development, financial literacy, vocational and life skills training for adolescents; school improvements; and more. PASS funding has already been delivered to support UNICEF education programs in Brazil, Jamaica, Senegal, Nigeria, China, Morocco and Turkey, with funding scheduled to be delivered to programs in Colombia, Mexico and Romania this year.

The PASS initiative is a key part of the Education for Better program, a three-year commitment launched at the UN General Assembly in September 2012 by Western Union and the Western Union Foundation, which includes philanthropic grants from the Western Union Foundation, advocacy, products/services, volunteer and marketing support for secondary and vocational education around the world.

Whilst players on the field have contributed the majority of passes, PASS has also been supported with communications programs off the field which have allowed soccer fans, Western Union customers and staff to play a part.

During its three seasons, the PASS initiativehas also attracted some high profile support within the sport. Global PASS ambassador Patrick Vieira launched the initiative at the start of the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League season and more recently travelled to Senegal, the country where he was born, to see for himself the work being done by UNICEF (video).

Other players who have lent their support during the initiative include: USA and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard, who led a campaign calling on fans to PASS For School (video); Nigerian soccer international Jay Jay Okocha, who went back to former club Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany to meet with fans; and Brazilian soccer legend Roberto Carlos, who met students benefiting from UNICEF programs in Istanbul, Turkey, in February 2014.

Marc Audrit, Vice President, Global Brand at Western Union, also commented, saying, “Soccer is a global language and we wanted to tap into that as a fundamental part of our sponsorship. By harnessing the power of soccer to raise awareness, and funding, for the unmet educational needs of young people, PASS has helped us deliver a message to the world that passes make a difference both on and off the field.”

Notes to Editors:

Statistics on the global education challenge:

  • An estimated 250 million children in the world cannot read, write or do basic math
  • 58 million children around the world lack access to primary education and 63 million young adolescents are out of school1
  • 85% of people globally say ‘creating equal educational opportunity’ is a top concern2

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of March 31, 2015, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of over 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and over 100,000 ATMs and kiosks. In 2014, The Western Union Company completed 255 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $85 billion of principal between consumers, and 484 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.

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 nongovernmental 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 www.westernunionfoundation.org, or Follow us on Twitter @TheWUFoundation.

About Western Union’s UEFA Europa League Sponsorship

In July 2012, Western Union announced a three year deal as the new Global Partner and the Presenting Sponsor of the UEFA Europa League. This sponsorship of the world’s largest club competition, comprising 192 professional soccer teams from 54 countries, provides Western Union with a unique opportunity for worldwide brand visibility, with the competition broadcast in more than 200 countries and territories, and enjoying a global live match unique reach of 634 million per season. This will allow Western Union, with its extensive network of approximately 515,000 Agent locations in over 200 countries and territories, to engage its customers and Agents in the excitement of the UEFA Europa League. The agreement also provides video, digital and social media content opportunities, and use of the UEFA Europa League brand assets. This partnership runs to the UEFA Europa League Final in 2015.


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Where PASS funding is being delivered:

Brazil – UNICEF and its partners are training 1,000 teachers to integrate sports as an educational tool to increase engagement and school attendance.

China – UNICEF and its partners are implementing a pilot program in China to benefit 30,000 children from 100 remote schools in ethnic minority areas. The program is providing learning opportunities including, online courses and networking projects to help better prepare young people for the school to work transition.

Colombia – UNICEF education programs in Colombia focus on protecting children and adolescents from violence and natural disasters by reinforcing that schools are safe spaces. Activities include helping to improve the quality of education, teacher training and emergency preparedness in Colombia.

Jamaica – UNICEF and its partners are working to increase attendance rates and educational opportunities for young people who are not in school. UNICEF is working in 9 schools to improve students’ nutrition and life skills, in addition to providing support to children with disabilities. UNICEF is also training teachers to strengthen the overall classroom experience for students, while helping them to develop life skills related to money management, working in teams, and decision making.

Mexico – UNICEF education programs in Mexico focus on inclusive learning; strengthening intercultural and bilingual education for indigenous children and adolescents; and emergency preparedness and risk management in schools.

Morocco – UNICEF education programs enhance the quality of learning for children in Morocco by providing a healthy, safe and protective educational environment; working closely with the Ministry of Education to develop school programs and curriculum that makes quality education available to every child; and teacher training to ensure every child has access to qualified educators, even in the most remote areas of Morocco.

Nigeria – UNICEF and its partners are working to improve the quality of teaching by providing scholarships to hundreds of women who want to become teachers in rural schools in order to help increase enrollment and retention of girls in northern Nigeria. UNICEF is also conducting a public awareness campaign highlighting the importance of girls’ education.

Romania – UNICEF Romania’s main priority is ensuring that Roma and other vulnerable children attend school. UNICEF Romania aims at getting 300,000-400,000 Romanian children who are not in school regularly, back in the classroom. Activities include interventions at school, with families and communities, teaching Roma language and traditions, and training for Roma school teachers.

Senegal – UNICEF and its partners are providing support to hundreds of adolescents to enable them to attend junior secondary school. UNICEF is also conducting a public awareness campaign to educate young girls on the importance of going to school to help increase the transition rate from primary to secondary school.

Turkey – UNICEF Turkey conducted research to better understand the educational obstacles children face in Turkey that prevent them from completing school. With PASS support, UNICEF launched a pilot program to address barriers identified in the research to help increase school access and attendance for disadvantaged youth in Turkey. The after-school program is training youth on skills such as information and communications technology (ICT), teambuilding, analytical thinking and problem solving.

1 Source: UNICEF

2 Source: 2009 Global Edelman goodpurpose Study


Source: Western Union Company

Western Union Media Contact:

Claire Treacy T: 44 (0) 208 563 6647

Director, Corporate Communications