The Western Union Foundation in Englewood, Colorado, has announced grants totaling more than $3.4 million to organizations working to foster economic opportunity through education, training, and small business development.

More than $2.3 million of the total was provided by Western Union agents, largely through giving circles, and a dollar-for-dollar foundation match. This year, the foundation also expanded a program that enables its agents to recommend nongovernmental organizations for funding; through the program, the foundation awarded grants of $10,000 to nineteen NGOs. Recipients include the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe, which works to provide vulnerable children with educational, vocational, and psychological support systems; Refugee One, which provides job training, readiness, and placement services to refugees who have resettled in the Chicago area; Fundación Pro Empleo Productivo A.C., which provides entrepreneurship training to individuals interested in microenterprise; and Skills for Change of Metro Toronto, which helps immigrants transition into the workforce.

“Western Union not only benefits society through its foundation’s charitable efforts, but through its products and services,” said Luella Chavez D’Angelo, president of the Western Union Foundation and senior vice president of Western Union Social Ventures. “Western Union agents and employees are powerful advocates of this approach and critical links for the business to provide shared value by helping connect people with much-needed financial services. Their insight is invaluable in everything in the grant-giving process through their recommendations and donations.”

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