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Western Union Mobilizes Customers, Employees, Agents, Business Associates and the Western Union Foundation to Respond to EU Refugee Crisis

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The Western Union Company and the Western Union Foundation today pledged a minimum of one million dollars USD for swift and effective support for families and communities most affected by the refugee crisis in Europe. The company is mobilizing a multi-faceted response leveraging its global network of employees and Go-to-Market business leads, Western Union Retail Agents and customers, Western Union Business Solutions clients as well as company vendors.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150909006256/en/

The Western Union Foundation will support a range of disaster response organizations, including Global NGO Partners and local response organizations. Grants totaling USD$200,000 have already been committed to be distributed among Save the Children, the Red Cross National Societies in Europe, Mercy Corps and Caritas.

As a part of the pledge, the Western Union Company will contribute ten US cents per transaction for all consumer-to-consumer transactions originated within the European Union, up to a maximum of USD$400,000. This initiative will commence on 14 September and funds will be committed for immediate local field actions, supplemented with Western Union employee grassroots activities at major refugee service centers across Europe.

A Western Union Foundation employee, Agent and vendor appeal match program has also been activated. The Western Union Foundation will offer a 2:1 employee match program and a 1:1 match program for Western Union Retail Agents, Western Union Business Solutions clients and Western Union vendors.

Western Union President and CEO Hikmet Ersek, said, “We are watching this unfolding crisis with heavy hearts. Our company is guided by a purpose of 'moving money for better' and this drives every decision we make and market we enter. Living our purpose also means giving on matters that are extremely critical to the communities we serve.

“We are mobilizing a whole-of-company approach, engaging our customers, our employees, business associates and our Foundation to pledge a minimum of one million dollars USD towards supporting the effort led by the European Union and the global community towards this unfolding humanitarian crisis.

“Our thoughts are with the men, women and children impacted as a result of this crisis. Supporting what matters in our communities, whether global or local, is the responsible thing to do," he said.

“Western Union’s core customer base is predominantly comprised of migrants, who have moved from their home to their host country for a variety of reasons, be they economic, financial, family-reason or security. History has shown that, over time, migrants make extraordinary contributions to both their host communities, and also to their home communities in the form of remittances sent back to family and friends."

Western Union Foundation President Patrick Gaston, said, “It is heartening to see international and national humanity collaborate in support of this crisis. Our giving is about helping people who need it most, in collaboration with our NGO relationships on the ground.

“With our immediate financial commitment, our NGO Partners are responding with support for relief efforts, including meals, shelter, healthcare and other necessities to the families and children most affected in coastal and arrival areas, migratory and transit areas, and settlement areas," he said.

Western Union Foundation– specific actions by NGO Partners

  • Save the Children to provide emergency supplies, including water, shelter, food, blankets, and hygiene kits at formal and informal refugee camps and to ensure safe environments for children. Their focus will be in the coastal arriving areas of Greece, Italy, Lebanon and Egypt; the migratory and transit areas of Serbia; and the settlement area of Germany.
  • Red Cross National Societies in Europe to distribute basic relief supplies, hygiene kits, blankets, clothing, food and infant kits. The Red Cross is also helping reconnect separated families and providing psychosocial support to those traumatized by the journey. Their focus will be in the coastal arriving areas of Greece and all arrival countries including the migratory and transit areas of Serbia, Macedonia and Hungary
  • Caritas Austria and Caritas Germany to provide emergency assistance including hygiene kits, food, care and games for children and provision of interpreters to help with communication. They currently have basic shelter spaces for 5,000 refugees, including 260 unaccompanied children, and are caring for another 11,900 with their mobile units. Their focus will be the migratory and transit areas of Hungary and Austria and settlement areas of Germany and Austria.
  • Mercy Corps to provide food assistance and distribute essentials like clothing, blankets, mattresses and infant care supplies to refugee families who have lost everything. In addition, Mercy Corps is putting plans in place to improve humanitarian conditions along the major access routes and entry points to Europe. Their focus will be the migratory and transit areas of Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia, Hungary and Syria, and coastal and arrival areas of Greece.

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 June 30, 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, and included the capability to send money to millions of bank accounts. 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 $103 million in grants and other giving. These funds have been pledged to more than 2,760 nongovernmental organizations in more than 136 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.

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Contact information

Western Union
Americas and European Union:
Pia De Lima (US), +1 954-260-5732
pia.delima@westernunion.com
or
Claire Treacy, +44 (0)7808 243 380
Claire.Treacy@westernunion.com
or
Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe & CIS:
Ingrid Sahu, +971-52-9225021
ingrid.sahu@westernunion.com

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