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Haiti - Economy : $500,000 grant for small businesses
18/10/2010 10:41:12

Haiti - Economy : $500,000 grant for small businesses
Western Union, through its program "Our World, Our Family®", and The Western Union Foundation announced today it is distributing a new grant totaling $500,000 to provide training and financing to approximately 1,000 small businesses in Haiti. Western Union and its services play a vital role in the lives of Haitian consumers. Remittances are an integral part of the Haitian economy and help to assist Haitians in the country's reconstruction.

The grant from the Western Union Foundation will be donated to Mercy Corps. Phil Oldham, Mercy Corps's Regional Program Director, said, "The people of Haiti are remarkably entrepreneurial and are hungry for new job opportunities. Western Union’s grant supports Mercy Corps's strategy to help Haitians develop their entrepreneurial talents into the successful enterprises that will drive their country's long-term economic recovery." recalling that "70 percent of Haitians are age 30 or younger, and the need for job creation is especially critical for youth in Haiti. In this context, Mercy Corps will foster apprenticeships and skills transfer as part of their work with selected micro, small and medium enterprises.

"Our goal, through this grant, is to create a climate for economic empowerment", said Luella Chavez D’Angelo, President, The Western Union Foundation. "For instance, in Carradeux, one of the camp sites supported by Mercy Corps, commerce is starting to flourish, with cash-for-work programs, and residents starting small businesses selling food and every day necessities".

Stewart A. Stockdale, President, The Americas and EVP, Global Cards and Global Key Accounts, Western Union said "We believe supporting small businesses is one of the best ways to make a sustainable impact in Haiti, and it is one of the areas we know best – it taps into our unique expertise as a financial services company."

To date, Western Union has contributed approximately $1.9 million in direct grants in support of Haiti through Western Union partner NGOs:

  • American Red Cross: $1,170,813
  • Save the Children: $158,208
  • Mercy Corps: $50,000
  • Belize Red Cross: $22,722
  • Mercy Corps: $500,000 (announced today)

The Western Union Foundation has earmarked another $500,000 for programs yet to be announced, for a grand total of approximately $2.4 million.

About The Western Union Foundation
Through Western Union's Our World, Our Family® signature program, the Western Union Foundation supports initiatives to empower individuals, families and communities through access to better education and economic opportunity. Recognized by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy in 2009, the program is a five year, $50 million commitment announced in 2007 reflecting the efforts made by Western Union employees, Agents, and partners around the world. Since its inception in 2001, the Western Union Foundation has awarded more than $67 million in grants and disaster relief to more than 1,900 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in 100 countries.

About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps helps people in the world's toughest places turn crises of natural disaster, poverty and conflict into opportunities for progress. Driven by local needs and market conditions, our programs provide communities with the tools and support they need to transform their own lives. Our worldwide team of 3,700 professionals is improving the lives of 16.7 million people in more than 40 countries.

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