Care Package: UPS Boosts its Backing of Global Humanitarian Causes in a Big Way

The UPS Foundation is one of the world’s leading corporate funders of humanitarian causes around the world. As the global refugee crisis escalated, so did the foundation’s financial and in-kind support. It's also been a major player in recent natural disaster relief and response efforts.

What’s more, the UPS Foundation has built a strong reputation as a full-package funder, providing not only financial assistance, but access to its vast logistical resources to strengthen the efficiency of humanitarian efforts.

This is a great example of a corporation leveraging its core strengths on behalf of its philanthropic mission, which is something we're seeing a lot more of these days. In the old model of corporate philanthropy, the business and giving operations were often separate. The new model exploits synergies between the two, and UPS is doing a great job on that front. 

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The foundation has also been an increasingly strong supporter of humanitarian organizations working to ease the suffering of the world’s growing refugee population. While much of the foundation’s attentions have been turned toward the refugee crisis in recent months, the UPS Foundation is far from myopic, and it hasn’t forgotten about its original mission to “help build stronger and more resilient communities around the world.” This is evidenced by its latest give.

The UPS Foundation announced a total of $14 million in grants and in-kind services to “advance humanitarian preparedness, response, and recovery programs” around the globe. While the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is getting a chunk of that $14 million to expand its use of the UPS Relief Link Program, a total of 30 nonprofits are also included in this grant round.

Related: More Dollars for Disaster From the UPS Foundation

With a keen eye on disaster preparedness and the prevention of widespread tragedy, UPS has spread its recent grants across a wide range of humanitarian work. A few highlights here include a grant to UNICEF to aid in the rollout of a vaccine dashboard that allows national Ministries of Health to manage vaccine inventories and prevent shortages and stock depletions. The foundation also awarded a grant to CARE USA to help the organization with its capacity building workshops for logisticians in high disaster risk countries.

The foundation’s grants programs promoting the use of bike helmets and advocating for safer roads are among the more interesting points of funding in this round. The promotion of road safety is a cause that those in philanthropic circles most closely associate with Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has committed well over $100 million to various road safety measures. But it makes sense that the UPS Foundation would also have a toehold in this space. After all, UPS is in the business of air delivery and freight services, the latter of which relies on safe roads and related infrastructure.

Related: Here’s Where the New Bloomberg Road Safety Money is Going

All told, the UPS Foundation’s recent $14 million grant round has increased its humanitarian program giving by a whopping 40 percent. This won't come as a big surprise to anyone following this company's fortunes: As Internet shopping has surged in recent years, so have UPS revenues.