Western Union Joins White House Call-to-Action for Private Sector Engagement on the Global Refugee Crisis

Press Release By Western Union Published OnJuly 1, 2016

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a leader in global payment services, announced its participation as a founding partner in the White House call-to-action for private sector engagement on the global refugee crisis.

There are more than 65 million displaced people in the world today, the highest number on record since the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) began collecting statistics. More than 21 million of these people have crossed international borders in search of safety and are registered as refugees. The despair that drives these people to flee their homes is heart-breaking, but their resilience is awe inspiring. Refugees are a valuable untapped resource and, if given the opportunity, can thrive and contribute wherever they reside.

A crisis of this scale, however, requires more than government action. For this reason, Western Union is proud to join with President Obama in challenging the U.S. private sector to draw on its unique expertise, resources and entrepreneurial spirit to help refugees regain control over their lives and integrate into their new communities.

To date, Western Union has taken the following action to assist the global refugee crisis:

Western Union has a long history of supporting issues related to migration, refugees, and humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Western Union drew early attention to the needs of young Syrian refugees through a multi-year consumer fundraising campaign to benefit UNICEF. In 2015, the company expanded its efforts to support humanitarian relief for refugees throughout the Middle East & Europe, taking a 360° approach by engaging a variety of assets and audiences, including its core operations, corporate voice, marketing and customer engagement programs, employee volunteerism, business partnerships, corporate giving, and support from the Western Union Foundation. Western Union designed a three-pronged approach, designed to address short-, medium- and long-term needs that were identified through hands-on field research.

  • Products: Western Union products have enabled NGO staff from Oxfam, IRC and others to send humanitarian payments from their desktops directly to programs in the field – including to refugees and fieldworkers. Western Union is offering zero-fee and reduced fee promotions to support the refugee community.
  • Giving: In 2015, The Western Union Foundation with the support of The Western Union Company provided more than $600,000 in philanthropic contributions to numerous charitable organizations serving refugee populations throughout the Middle East and Europe, including longtime partners Save the Children, Mercy Corps, and the Red Cross. Western Union also contributed ten US cents per transaction for all consumer-to-consumer transactions originated within the European Union, giving more than $400,000. In 2016, The Western Union Foundation has committed to giving more than $500,000 in humanitarian assistance, raising additional funds from business partners and employees to deliver critical support.
  • Employees: Western Union has matched employee contributions 2:1, and Western Union employees in Europe have participated in hands-on volunteer efforts, collecting donations, handing out supplies, even babysitting the children of refugees so the parents could attend classes. Employees are working with NGOs to teach a full year of Italian and German to roughly 1,000 new refugees – a camp-full. They have worked with Caritas to create two homes for unaccompanied refugee children, and to provide language skills and education.
  • Customers: Western Union has made it easy for customers to make a difference through the MyWU customer loyalty program, which enabled Western Union customers to redeem their loyalty points to support the refugee crisis both in France and Germany, with Western Union matching their donations. Western Union actively promoted points donation via SMS and email, and used social media to provide transparent updates on progress and encourage others to join in. Earlier this year, Western Union donated more than €10,000 thanks to the generosity of loyalty members.

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, 2016, 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, and included the capability to send money to over a billion accounts. In 2015, The Western Union Company completed 262 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $82 billion of principal between consumers, and 508 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.

Follow Western Union:

@WUNewsroom @WesternUnionCEO @WesternUnion @TheWUFoundation

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 $106 million in grants and other giving. These funds have been pledged to more than 2,794 nongovernmental organizations in more than 137 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.


Source: The Western Union Company

Western Union Corporate Communications

Americas and European Union:

Pia De Lima, 1 954 260-5732



Middle East, Africa, APAC, Eastern Europe & CIS:

Ingrid Sahu, 971 44373656