Union Pacific Foundation Community Ties Giving Program

Community Ties Giving Program

Union Pacific Foundation Local Grants

2020 Program Overview and Guidelines

As part of the Community Ties Giving Program, Local Grants help us achieve our mission by providing small and medium-sized grants within our priority cause areas to local organizations spread widely across Union Pacific's footprint.

Funding Priorities & Objectives

Throughout its existence, the success of Union Pacific's business has been inextricably linked to the economic and community wellbeing of cities and towns across the nation. We take pride in the role we have played in helping communities thrive, and believe the impact we can have on local communities is greatest when it is authentic to our history and the company we are today. As such, we have carefully aligned our Local Grants cause areas to our company's unique heritage, strengths, and assets. Specifically, we prioritize 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, residents 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 residents 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 residents 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.
  • Provide homeless and at-risk populations
     access to safe shelter and services that ameliorate and prevent homelessness.

    *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..

Workforce Development

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 residents 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.

Community Spaces

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 residents 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.

Within this focus, Union Pacific is proud to support local United Way organizations across our footprint. Union Pacific and the Union Pacific Foundation have a longstanding partnership with the United Way, an organization which we believe is a vital resource and contributor to communities across the country. United Way agencies must apply through the normal application process to be eligible for a grant.

COVID-19 Relief Grants

Given the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Union Pacific’s Community Ties Giving Program allocated additional funding for COVID-19 Relief Grants to address critical community needs associated with the pandemic.

While proposals for general operating support are typically not accepted, such requests will be considered for COVID-19 Relief Grants to most effectively support organizations during this time of need.

Union Pacific will make every effort to expedite funding for approved COVID-19 Relief Grant applications before the published timeline.

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