The Logistics of Caring
UPS founder Jim Casey established The UPS Foundation in 1951 with a mission to help build stronger and more resilient communities around the world. And that's exactly what we've been doing for more than 60 years now.
To us, giving means more than writing a check. It means combining employees' skill, passion and time with our logistics expertise, transportation assets and charitable donations* to make a measurable difference in society. In 2014, we invested nearly 1.9 million volunteer hours and more than $100 million dollars into our global communities.
As our communities continue to grow and evolve, so do we. The Foundation's current philanthropic approach focuses on four areas that represent the purpose of our mission and reflect UPS's corporate values and expertise.
*UPS does not accept or respond to unsolicited grant proposals. Nonprofit funding is determined in one of two ways: The UPS Foundation solicits grant proposals from preeminent organizations within our focus areas or through a recommendation made by a UPS employee who is actively volunteering with the agency. The best way for your organization to be considered for funding by UPS is to engage UPS volunteers and then ask them to log their volunteer hours in the Neighbor-to-Neighbor tracking system. Any hours logged are open for funding opportunities by our local offices.
Focusing Our Efforts
Enhancing community well-being through road safety and humanitarian relief and resilience
UPS's longstanding policies and inclusive culture make it one of the most diverse companies in the world. But we know an internal focus isn't enough, so The UPS Foundation also supports community efforts to provide diverse populations with advancement opportunities.
We fund specific organizations focused on enhancing opportunities for higher education, economic empowerment, mentorship and inclusion for underserved or underrepresented segments of society.
In 2015, we donated $12.6 million to non-profit organizations that align with the four pillars of our diversity and inclusion giving strategy. Select examples of those partnerships include:
Access to Higher Education
The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. Their goal is to increase the number of African American college graduates every year. Since 1972, The UPS Foundation has provided scholarship funds to undergraduate students at each of the 37 UNCF-member colleges that have produced more than 400,000 graduates to date.
The UPS Foundation has been providing grant funding to Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) since 1988. As a result of our support, PVA has been able to expand Operation PAVE (Paving Access for Veterans Employment), a program that provides career counseling and employment opportunities to veterans with complex needs.
The UPS Foundation has supported the National Urban League for more than 50 years. Since 2009, we have focused our investments on the growth and development of the National Urban League's Entrepreneurship Center Program (ECP). These training centers work with minority entrepreneurs to enhance their management skills so they can recognize and act on business opportunities, and qualify for financing that leads to increased economic growth.
The UPS Foundation works with 100 Black Men of America, Inc., a group of African American business leaders and role models whose diverse talents are used to mentor young adults and motivate them to succeed. The UPS Foundation has invested millions in the organization to help build its infrastructure, increase the number of national chapters and provide college scholarships to more than 350 students.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. In addition to their other efforts, HRC has joined forces with The UPS Foundation to create and fund the Workplace Project. The collaboration advocates for policies that prohibit discrimination against LGBT workers, provide employees with equal benefits and encourage appropriate marketing within every work environment.
For more information about our diversity programs, download the 2014 Social Impact Report.
UPS employees are passionate about making the world a better place, which is why they volunteered more than 2.35 million hours in local communities with their favorite nonprofit organizations last year. The UPS Foundation provides those organizations with the operational expertise, leadership development and technology enhancements they need to tackle today's societal challenges.
While volunteerism is a year-round priority, we place special emphasis on community service every October in celebration of UPS's Global Volunteer Month. Some UPSers use this time to help with volunteer projects put on by their team or department, while others spend their time volunteering with organizations on their own. At the end of Global Volunteer Month, The UPS Foundation awards a $10,000 grant to a nonprofit in each UPS region and business unit.
Local Grants Program
The UPS Foundation allocates local funding for each of UPS's regions, districts, and business units around the world so our employees can determine which organizations will best address the unique needs of their communities. For an organization to be eligible, UPS volunteers must log a minimum of 50 group hours of community service logged into the Neighbor to Neighbor System, aligned with The UPS Foundation’s four focus areas, and be nominated by UPS's local Community Involvement Committee.
Corporate Grants Program
The UPS Foundation provides funding to nonprofits around the world. In 2015, The UPS Foundation awarded a $1.2 million grant to the Points of Light Foundation, the world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer leadership services. The funds will go toward volunteer-based solutions to increase disaster preparedness and the capacity to respond to disasters, spur the international growth of volunteerism, engage veterans in volunteer service and provide service to veterans, and strengthen nonprofits to more effectively engage volunteers.
Some of the Points of Light funding has helped increase volunteer support during the ongoing European Refugee Crisis. In addition to the philanthropic support, UPS employees have been among the volunteers who resolutely offered aid to the refugees. Over 500 volunteer hours were contributed by UPSers in Germany and Belgium alone to help migrants searching for refuge. Austria, France, Greece, and Sweden were also sites of major UPS volunteer activity. UPS volunteers created warehouses for organizing relief items; constructed accommodation shelters for refugees; delivered donations and relief supplies; assembled and distributed bagged lunches; and participated in fundraiser events in support of the migrants.
The 20 Million by 2020 Pledge
To reinforce our commitment to making a real difference in the world through volunteering, in 2014 UPS pledged to complete 20 million hours of global volunteerism and community service by the end of 2020. By achieving this goal, UPS’s total volunteer hours will increase more than 12% and non-profits will receive assistance valued at more than $460 million. Thanks to the dedication of UPS employees, UPS has surpassed the halfway mark towards our 2020 goal.
Jim Casey Community Service Award
The Jim Casey Community Service Award is the highest honor that can be bestowed on any UPS employee. To learn more about our Jim Casey Service Award winners, click here.
UPS aims to make the world a safer place by using our company's logistics expertise and training to teach safety practices in the local and global communities we serve. The UPS Foundation supports these efforts by creating and funding programs focused on road safety and humanitarian relief and resilience. In 2015, The UPS Foundation donated $12.1 million in financial and in-kind contributions to organizations that embody community safety.
Year after year, UPS drivers are recognized for being among the safest drivers on the road. Their extensive training teaches them to always be aware of their surroundings and ready to react when necessary. Since motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among teens, we created the Road Code® Teen Safe Driving Program in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to share our successful training methods and educate young drivers on safe driving habits.
The state-of-the-art interactive program uses classroom instruction and virtual driving simulators to teach safe driving "code" or habits used by all UPS drivers. Our goal is to prepare these 13-18 year old students, who have had little to no exposure to driving, for the real roads where distractions run rampant.
Part of the funds allocated to road safety grants in 2015 were used to expand UPS Road Code® in the UK, Germany, Canada, and China, where the program reaches university students. Expansion efforts are underway in Mexico in 2016. A grant was also given to the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation to support the Helmets for Kids program in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia.
UPS supports the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety in an effort to help reduce global road fatalities. Our financial support helps provide road safety education to fleet and emergency drivers in developing nations.
For more information on our road safety initiatives, download the UPS Road Safety Whitepaper.
Humanitarian Relief & Resilience
To have strong, productive communities, we must first have safe communities. So we've allocated cash, emergency funding and in-kind contributions to help build strategic partnerships with global and domestic organizations like American Red Cross, Salvation Army, World Food Program, UNICEF, CARE and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The UPS Foundation's funding, along with UPS's logistics expertise, transportation resources and skilled global workforce, assists these organizations in disaster preparedness, relief and recovery efforts that allow them to respond more effectively and impact more lives.
We provide funding, personnel, training and other resources to equip global communities. In Turkey, we collaborated with multiple partners to launch "Sağlam Kobi," a unique Business Disaster Resiliency Program meaning "Strong Small and Medium Size Enterprises" in Turkish. The program provides proactive training sessions and offers a suite of online resources including disaster preparedness checklists, FAQs and risk assessment and mitigation action plans for 300,000 businesses. Sağlam Kobi also engages businesses, emergency management agencies and nonprofits to plan for catastrophic earthquakes and improve the businesses' readiness capabilities to withstand a disruption in operations during and after a crisis. In 2015, 24,000 new businesses took proactive steps to improve their disaster readiness through the Sağlam Kobi program.
Urgent Humanitarian Relief
Unfortunately, it's not always possible for a community to be fully prepared before disaster strikes. But The UPS Foundation is always prepared to respond with the aid of logistics expertise and financial support. In August 2014, the United Nations declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa an “international health emergency.” The largest health threat in a generation infected tens of thousands of people and ravaged the nations of West Africa. Entire communities were quarantined, hospitals lacked running water and soap, and medical supplies were scarce. In the midst of the devastation, UPS worked steadily to deliver a robust Ebola response. Leaders of UPS’s Humanitarian Relief & Resilience Program consulted with responders and realized that funding, supplies and reliable shipments to the region were top priority needs. We provided $750,000 in funding and in-kind support to provide ocean, air, and land shipments to multiple agencies responding to the Ebola crisis. World Food Programme, UNICEF, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Foundation, MedShare, and Africare were all among the organizations that we partnered with to deliver critical aid to health workers on the ground.
One of the obstacles that frontline responders faced was the abrupt drop in air traffic to West Africa. Most commercial airlines halted flights into the affected countries, making it difficult to transfer health workers or vital medical supplies into and around the region. Through a public-private partnership with the World Food Programme and the Cologne Bonn Airport in Germany, UPS underwrote the costs of a cargo staging area that provided free warehousing, air cargo services, and air transport to West Africa. The operation started in late 2014, providing air capacity into the region to assist healthcare workers in stemming the Ebola epidemic. Over 40 relief agencies were able to transport 932 metric tons of medical supplies into West Africa – supplies that were vital to the communities fighting for survival against the virus. The staging area also helped the WFP to achieve operational cost savings totaling $1.5 million dollars.
To learn more about how the UPS Foundation helped with the Ebola epidemic, see our Humanitarian Logistics page.
Recovering from a crisis can be even tougher than enduring it. To make the process easier, The UPS Foundation provides resources and expertise that help disaster-stricken areas recover and rebuild more quickly and efficiently.
For instance, we are working with our long-time partner and humanitarian aid organization UNHCR to implement a more efficient donation tracking system. UNHCR was established by the United Nations General Assembly to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees.
Working together to address this issue, UNHCR and UPS collaborated to develop UPS Relief Link, a new system that can track last mile distributions. UPS Relief Link combines the use of a handheld scanning tool with durable identification cards to efficiently distribute aid directly to the people who need it the most. The technology tracks donations of goods from the donor organization to the individual receiving the goods, allowing the organization to know exactly how many families received relief items and ensuring equal distribution within a monitored site.
The last mile delivery is the most difficult to trace, so we're currently testing tracking solutions with UNHCR which is responsible for the care of nearly 55 million refugees, returnees, internally displaced and stateless people around the world.
For more information on the UPS Humanitarian Relief & Resilience program, download the UPS Humanitarian Relief & Resilience Whitepaper.
For more information about our community safety programs as a whole, download the 2014 Social Impact Report.
Every day, UPS delivers nearly 17 million packages by air, land and sea. We're constantly operating within the environment, so it's important that we do our part to preserve and protect it, long-term.
To do so, The UPS Foundation provides financial and employee volunteer support to environmental programs with a focus on reforestation and conservation, carbon reduction efforts and environmental research/education.
UPS Global Forestry Initiative
Preserving the world's forests is critical to reducing carbon, combating climate change and protecting the planet's atmosphere. Investing in reforestation also builds resiliency in our communities by creating jobs and protecting against erosion and mudslides. Motivated by this truth, in 2011, we launched the Global Forestry Initiative to plant, protect and preserve trees in urban and rural areas around the world.
Through The UPS Foundation and select organizations, we have planted more than five million trees in 46 countries since embarking on our Global Forestry Initiative in 2011. These trees have been planted by NGOs that received grants from The UPS Foundation, as well as UPS employees and their families and friends. Partner organizations include: World Wildlife Fund, National Arbor Day Foundation, Earth Day Network, Keep America Beautiful, inc., The Nature Conservancy, and National Park Foundation.
The 15 Million by 2020 Pledge
In 2015, UPS announced a pledge to plant 15 million trees around the world by the end of 2020 – a bold expansion of the Global Forestry Initiative. In addition to helping restore some of the world’s most important forests, this initiative will have a humanitarian impact across many emerging markets.
In 2015, The UPS Foundation awarded $4 million in grants to support tree planting initiatives, conservation efforts, and research. Check out the Tree Map and see where UPSers and our partner organizations are planting trees worldwide.
We work hard to get these trees in the ground. And they work hard once they are there.
For more information about our environmental efforts, download the 2014 Social Impact Report.
Partnering with The Earthwatch Institute
A United Front with United Way
For more than 30 years, UPS has supported the work of United Way, an organization that shares our dedication to improving lives and strengthening communities where we live and work every day. Within these communities, we're addressing important issues such as early-grade reading, high school graduation rates and financial stability.
But we couldn't create this positive impact on society without the overwhelming help and support of our employees. Since 1982, UPS and our employees – both active and retired – have donated more than $1 billion to United Way, becoming the first company to reach this philanthropic milestone.
And our efforts have not gone unrecognized. Twice we've won United Way's Spirit of America award, the organization's highest national honor for corporate involvement and commitment to building better communities.
Meet The UPS Foundation Board of Trustees
Each member of our leadership brings a diverse set of skills and experiences to The UPS Foundation. Together they’re a powerful force for good.
Policies & Governance
The UPS Foundation is a separate legal entity from UPS with tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) IRS tax code. Funding for the Foundation is provided by annual contributions from the company's profits.
We seek to support organizations that, like UPS and The UPS Foundation, do not discriminate in the delivery of charitable services and support diversity, community safety, environmental sustainability and volunteerism. Accordingly, an applicant must certify that it is compliant with The UPS Foundation's Grantee Non-Discrimination Policy in order to receive a grant from The UPS Foundation (policy set forth below). Any organization that receives a grant and is later found to be noncompliant with The UPS Foundation's Grantee Non-Discrimination Policy, as determined in the sole discretion of The UPS Foundation based on all appropriate facts and circumstances, will be required to return all or part of the grant.
Grantee Non-Discrimination Policy
Organizations seeking financial support from The UPS Foundation must certify that their charitable and/or educational programs and services are offered and provided to the intended beneficiaries without discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, religion, disability, medical condition, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran or military status, pregnancy, ancestry, age or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, county or local laws, regulations or ordinances.
Notwithstanding the preceding, organizations that offer gender-based programs or have programs and services designed to benefit a specific population will not be considered discriminatory for this reason alone.
Conflict of Interest Policy
The UPS Foundation wants to avoid situations in which the business or personal interests of a trustee, officer, staff member, associate or advisory committee member may inappropriately influence the Foundation's decision-making process.
To view this policy in its entirety, visit the UPS Pressroom.
In-Kind Donations Policy
The UPS Foundation only provides in-kind transportation to our Humanitarian Relief & Resilience Program partners, providing in-kind shipping budgets to these agencies for preparedness, urgent response and post-crisis recovery efforts. These established partnerships ensure that UPS can make a critical difference in communities affected by disaster or other crises. UPS does not transport collection drive items or ship items for individuals. Last year UPS provided 350 in-kind shipments across nearly 50 countries. UPS encourages individuals to provide monetary donations to agencies actively engaged in humanitarian response. Product donors should go to Good360.org. For more information on how you can make a difference or to find out what agencies are actively engaged in response and recovery efforts, go to CIDI.org, InterAction.org or UN-OCHA.org.