As part of the Community Ties Giving Program, Local Grants help the Union Pacific Foundation's mission by providing small and medium-sized grants within our priority cause areas to local organizations spread widely across Union Pacific's footprint. Throughout its existence, the success of Union Pacific's business has been inextricably linked to the economic and community well-being of cities and towns across the nation. Local Grants are carefully aligned with the areas to their company's unique heritage, strengths, and assets. Specifically, they foundation prioritizes funding for direct services and efforts that build the capacity of organizations focused on the following causes within our local operating communities:
In order for communities to thrive, citizens must feel safe. Just as the safety of our employees and community members is paramount to how we operate, Union Pacific is committed to helping communities prevent and prepare for accidents and emergencies, so citizens get home safe at the end of each day. As such, we prioritize funding for programs that seek to:
- Encourage safe behaviors and prevent accidents through education and awareness , particularly projects which focus on rail, driver, bike, and pedestrian safety.
- Eliminate risks and improve safe access to community spaces through infrastructure improvements, for instance signage, proper lighting, and public trail improvements.
- Prepare and equip citizens and emergency responders* to effectively respond to incidents and emergencies if or when they occur.
- Prevent crime and incidents of violence through efforts that address the root causes of these issues and seek to mitigate their occurrence.
*Note: Union Pacific supports publicly-funded emergency responders through a variety of corporate programs; only independent nonprofit, 501(c)(3) emergency response organizations, such as volunteer departments, are eligible for funding through this grant program..
For over 150 years, Union Pacific has helped stimulate economic growth in cities and towns throughout the nation by training and providing employment to millions of workers. More than ever, we are committed to ensuring citizens in our communities are able to achieve family-supporting careers like those offered by Union Pacific. As such, we prioritize funding for programs that seek to:
- Put youth on the right track by creating awareness of family-supporting jobs like those Union Pacific offers, and building foundational skills, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) as well as necessary technical and life skills, to begin a trajectory toward these careers.
- Raise awareness of, educate and prepare young adults for middle skills jobs like those Union Pacific offers, for instance through community colleges, vocational and career training programs, workforce readiness initiatives, and programs that assist with job placement and/or on-the-job experience. Programs that develop proficiency in areas of relevance to Union Pacific operations such as welding, electrical work, machine operations, and civil and electrical engineering are given priority.
- "Up-skill" the existing workforce by providing training and resources that enable them to reach the next level of their career. Programs that develop proficiency in areas of relevance to Union Pacific operations are given priority.
- Provide training and mentorship for nonprofit professionals to help them grow and advance their organizations.
* Programs with a focus on cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce (e.g., women, veterans, and/or minority populations), as well as those with a focus on rural communities, will be given special consideration.
The vibrancy of a community is an essential ingredient in attracting businesses and tourism, and establishing a desirable place for skilled workers and their families to call home. Just as the railroad opened up avenues for sharing different cultures and experiences, we seek to ensure all citizens within our operating communities have access to special places in the community that celebrate cultural diversity, artistic expression, our natural environment, and the social interactions that enrich our lives. Ultimately, we are committed to supporting the local economy by building and enhancing community spaces that contribute to the distinct identity of a city or town, creating destinations where families, businesses, and visitors want to be. As such, we prioritize funding for programs and projects that achieve the following objectives:
- Create, sustain or expand upon artistic and cultural experiences offered to a broad and diverse audience (e.g., museums, theatres, libraries, concerts, lectures, etc.).
- Preserve and share the unique history of the local community, including projects related to train and/or Union Pacific history.
- Provide clean, safe, and positive outdoor recreational and/or educational opportunities that foster an appreciation for our natural environment.
- Beautify neighborhoods and main street areas in order to improve livability, promote commerce, and ultimately attract more residents, businesses, and visitors to town.
- Plan for, create or enhance unique spaces that reflect the character of a place and take into account community members' diverse needs and desires.
Local Needs: Because no two communities are exactly alike, a small portion of our funding is allocated to assist local communities thrive in ways unique to them and meet vital local needs. As such, we prioritize funding for programs that achieve the following:
- Improve the quality of life among the general public.
- Address a critical challenge among those most in need.