Venture Philanthropy: UPS Championing Road Safety

Every day, UPS links millions of organisations and individuals together, delivering an average of 15 million packages and documents in more than 220 countries and territories. Founded in 1907 as a messenger company in the U.S., it has grown into a multi-billion-dollar international corporation, which also does a lot of good venture philanthropy work through its UPS Foundation.

The Foundation shares UPS's extensive knowledge of logistics, coupled with financial support through grants, and works with not-for-profits in the humanitarian relief field to enhance their ability to prepare and respond to natural disasters. Plus, it is keen to create innovative community safety partnerships with charities to champion road safety: it is currently expanding its safe driving program, UPS Road CodeTM., which will engage UPS volunteers globally to instruct teens and novice drivers on safe driving techniques. Last year, the Foundation’s venture philanthropy awarded 18 grants totaling more than $5.5 million to not-for-profits that promote community safety through urgent humanitarian relief efforts and road safety initiatives.

According to the organisation Global Road Safety Partnership every 30 seconds a person is killed in a road crash - more than 3000 per day - and almost 1.2 million people per year die in road crashes worldwide. As many as 50 million are injured. More than 85 per cent of the road traffic deaths and injuries occur in low income and middle income countries, yet they own only some 40 per cent of the world's motor vehicles. In some countries, less than half of the deaths that happen as a result of a road crash are reported to the police.

The UPS Foundation is a global supporter of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. At the start of 2013 it donated motorcycle crash helmets to schoolchildren at high risk in Cambodia and Vietnam. In Vietnam, helmets were handed over to the first of four schools who participated this venture philanthropy initiative at the start of 2013 and the Foundation is committed to providing $450,000 over the next three years to support the 'Helmets for Kids' programme. Eduardo Martinez, President of The UPS Foundation says, "We are committed to promoting safety and prosperity by supporting organisations that champion a variety of community safety initiatives. We are also honoured to apply our knowledge and command of logistics to help others prepare for the unknown and create safer roads and communities."

The World Health Organisation (WHO) forecasts that by 2020 road crashes will be the third most common cause of premature death in the world and the annual number of deaths are forecast to be double unless action is taken. Unfortunately, 500 children die every day in road crashes and one last chilling thought from the WHO – ‘more children died in Africa in 1998 from road crashes than from the HIV/AIDS virus.’

Photo Credit: rob-tom-dolly franklin blogspot

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