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Techstars Foundation and Western Union Foundation Announce Joint Grants Supporting Future Entrepreneurs
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Techstars Foundation and Western Union Foundation Announce Joint Grants Supporting Future Entrepreneurs

Funding for MIT D-Lab and Watson Institute Will Support Future Innovators

DENVER–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#csrTechstars Foundation and the Western Union Foundation announced today a $100,000 joint commitment to fund two grants of $50,000 each to MIT D-Lab and Watson Institute to support underrepresented youth. The announcement marks the first time the two foundations are working together to jointly award grants focused on innovation and business development skills programs for future entrepreneurs.

“We see an opportunity to create a greater impact by working together with the Techstars Foundation to co-fund these grants,” said Elizabeth Roscoe, executive director of the Western Union Foundation. “Both foundations share a strong interest in supporting youth who don’t have access to equal opportunity to become future entrepreneurs and spur the next wave of innovation. This commitment aligns with our foundation’s ongoing efforts to support education and the development of skills that can not only transform lives, but regions.”

MIT D-Lab has current student and staff fieldwork projects, research programs, and fellows in more than 25 countries around the world. The new grant will focus on the program’s project in Greece to equip refugee women with technical and soft skills to establish their own businesses while building their confidence and ability to solve problems. Created with Faros, an NGO located in Athens, the project also receives funding from UNHCR, a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.

“Together with the Western Union Foundation we will be able to have an exponential impact on creating a positive social and economic global change,” said Andrea Perdomo, director of the Techstars Foundation. “This co-grant opportunity will enable us to work together to support these two organizations as a team.”

Watson Institute is a reimagined model of higher education for next-generation innovators, leaders, and entrepreneurs. Watson Institute will use the funding to hold two Basecamps in Boulder, Colorado and Mexico City for underrepresented youth. Each Basecamp includes intensive entrepreneurship training, mentorship, a master course, and a demo competition. Participants will grow as entrepreneurial leaders and gain ongoing access to Watson Institute’s online resources, networks and mentorship sessions.

This grant is part of more than $2 million in global grants the Western Union Foundation has delivered in 2019, addressing a range of issues including workforce skills training, education, and humanitarian and disaster relief.

About Techstars Foundation

The Techstars Foundation’s mission is to develop and support underrepresented entrepreneurs by providing non-profit organizations with grants and access to the Techstars Network. Created in 2015, Techstars Foundation fosters an inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem accessible to all aspiring entrepreneurs regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, age, gender identity, LGBTQ or ability. The Techstars Foundation vision is to stimulate innovation and positive social and economic global change through empowering underrepresented communities and entrepreneurs. The Techstars Foundation funds 501(c)(3) or in-country equivalent organizations with educational programs that are aligned with the foundation’s mission. The Techstars Foundation is a donor-advised fund managed by the Community Foundation Boulder County.

About Western Union Foundation

The Western Union Foundation believes that education is one of the surest pathways to economic opportunity. Through collaborations with NGOs around the world, the Foundation has embarked on a mission to connect 50,000 migrants, refugees, women and youth to the global economy through demand-driven skills training and workforce enablement programs by 2020. The Foundation also offers a global scholarship program that helps put a post-secondary education in reach for in-need students studying in the STEM fields and business. To date, more than $120 million has been given to fund projects in 137 countries across the globe, including disaster relief for communities in crisis. The Western Union Foundation is a separate charitable corporation that is tax-exempt under 501(c)(3) of the US Internal Revenue Code, and receives support from The Western Union Company, its employees, agents and business partners. Contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible for US income tax purposes. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter @TheWUFoundation.


Media Contacts:

Megan Nyvold, Western Union

(720) 332-7814

Rachel Rogala, Western Union

(720) 332-2686

Andrea Perdomo, Techstars Foundation

(980) 220-3541

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