Western Union Foundation Announces Commitment to Drive $500 Million in Wage Gains

Giving By Robyn Burns Sep 14, 2023

Through Prosperity Beyond Borders, the Foundation aims to increase wages and earning potential for disadvantaged, high-potential individuals who currently lack access to economic mobility


The Western Union Foundation is proud to announce Prosperity Beyond Borders, a new social impact commitment to drive $500 million in aggregate wage gains for people who currently lack access to economic mobility. Prosperity Beyond Borders is a multi-year commitment supporting individuals who have migrated from underserved communities and connecting them with the skills and access necessary to attain better jobs and increased earnings.

“The Foundation’s goal of driving $500 million in wage gains for underserved, aspiring individuals directly aligns with our company’s purpose of helping people prosper,” said Ben Adams, Chief Legal Officer of Western Union and Board Chair of the Western Union Foundation. “This is a great example of reimagining what’s possible and being bold in the social impact we aim to achieve through our Foundation.”


To achieve the $500M aggregate wage gains goal, the Foundation will invest in the following:

  • Workforce Readiness: Scholarships for international students from low-income countries, market-driven skill building courses, and business boot camps.
  • Jobs Creation: Fellowships, seed funding, and small business development empowering leaders and entrepreneurs.
  • Equitable Access: Support for inclusive access to jobs through safe and fair systems that create pathways to the formal labor market for people who have migrated.


Programs providing these services function as powerful wage multipliers, enabling people to qualify for higher-paying jobs that offer upward mobility. The Foundation’s $500 million goal represents the cumulative sum of those individuals’ higher-wages or earning potential, generally calculated over a one-year timeframe. By supporting skills acquisition, degrees, certifications, and other relevant experience that qualifies people for better jobs, the Foundation aims to serve thousands of people and drive a total of $500 million in aggregate wage gains by the end of 2025.


“We are excited to launch Prosperity Beyond Borders and partner with innovative nonprofits that are creating durable, positive impact in people’s lives,” said Lauren Bell, Executive Director of the Western Union Foundation. “By focusing on aggregate wage gains as a key indicator of success, we are honing in on programs that have a long-term, measurable impact and in doing so we can help aspiring individuals achieve their own version of prosperity and transform their lives as well as future generations.”


In addition to supporting nonprofits that provide effective solutions to drive economic mobility, Prosperity Beyond Borders will be anchored by the Foundation’s two signature programs:


Western Union Foundation Global Scholars

The Western Union Foundation launched the Global Scholars program in 2017 to provide funding to international students struggling financially to complete their final years of college. Western Union Scholars are selected based on their academic standing, personal goals and level of financial need. The Foundation works with the Institute of International Education to accept nominations, select awardees and distribute scholarships. To date, the Foundation has funded more than 500 scholarships with plans to provide more than 130 additional scholarships through Prosperity Beyond Borders.

Western Union Foundation Fellowship

The Western Union Foundation Fellowship was launched in 2021 to further develop business and community leaders who have experienced displacement themselves, or are serving those that have been forcibly displaced with leadership training and seed funding to launch ventures that serve a social purpose. Powered by Watson Institute, this program has directly supported more than 75 burgeoning entrepreneurs and community leaders to date, with plans to support more than 130 Fellows throughout Prosperity Beyond Borders.


Prosperity Beyond Borders is the evolution of the Foundation’s successful completion of Opportunity Beyond Borders, through which $20 million was invested, reaching more than two million people worldwide and connecting 50,000 individuals to economic opportunities as reported in their most recent Impact Report. Throughout this initiative the Foundation deeply analyzed its impact to inform its next commitment and is increasing focus on the programs that can help even more people gain economic opportunity and have the chance to build a more prosperous future.