Strengthening Our Communities

Strengthening Our Communities

Union Pacific takes tremendous pride in our community relationships and efforts to improve the places where we live and work. We support communities through the Union Pacific Foundation, local funding programs, volunteer efforts and other forms of assistance. Union Pacific sponsored hundreds of events in communities across our network and was part of more than 200 organizations, such as chambers of commerce and economic development organizations.

Union Pacific's lines of communication are open to local and state agency officials, neighborhood groups and local citizens. Union Pacific's public affairs representatives facilitate resources and address operations related concerns reported directly, through our 24/7 community line and website. Communities are one of Union Pacific's key stakeholders and we are committed to serving and investing in their futures.

Union Pacific Foundation in Our Communities

The Union Pacific Foundation has helped thousands of nonprofit organizations achieve their missions for nearly 60 years. Our giving program has evolved with the changing needs of the cities, counties and states we call home.

As Union Pacific looks to the future, our new Building Community Investments program renews our support in three important areas to our business and communities: safety, workforce development and community spaces. While the program will not be fully implemented until 2018, recent gifts have already supported causes aligned with these key initiatives. Details on our new community investment priorities are listed below.


Communities thrive when citizens feel safe. Union Pacific is committed to helping commu.nities prevent and prepare for accidents and emergencies, ensuring citizens get home safely at the end of each day. This reflects Union Pacific's commitment to the safety of our employees and communities through which our railroad passes. We prioritize funding for programs achieving the following objectives.

  • Prevent accidents and emergencies through education and awareness efforts, particularly around pedestrian, bike, driver and rail safety.
  • Improve safe access to public places including, but not limited to, signage and proper lighting.
  • Prevent crime and violence through efforts addressing root causes and mitigating future incidents.
  • Prepare and equip citizens and independent, non-profit emergency responders to effectively respond to accidents and emergencies when they occur. Union Pacific supports publicly funded emergency responders separately, through a variety of corporate programs.
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Building America Report 2016 - Safety

Workforce Development

Union Pacific believes the following are essential elements for a prosperous community: a skilled workforce and jobs paying good wages. We prioritize funding for programs that seek to:

  • Educate and prepare local workforces for good living-wage jobs through community colleges, vocational and career training programs, workforce readiness initiatives including job placement and on-the-job experience.
  • Prepare youth for future careers, self-sufficiency and high school graduations from an early age. Support life skills development necessary to transition into careers of their choice such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs.
  • Create a pipeline of workers proficient in middle-skills jobs such as those offered by Union Pacific. This involves growing awareness of opportunities and benefits associated with these careers, as well as training in specific skills such as welding, diesel electrical work, machine operations and civil and electrical engineering.
  • Encourage and support diversity and inclusion in the workplace through outreach and cultivating a diverse workforce.
  • Provide training and mentorship for non-profit and small business professionals to help them grow and advance their organizations.
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Building America Report 2016 - Workforce Development

Workforce Development Spotlight

The Union Pacific Foundation donated $23,000 to support workforce development and computer training programs at Dona Ana Community College's campus in Sunland Park, New Mexico, and $24,000 to the Texas A&M International University Planetarium in Laredo, Texas, to create shows that can engage young people with STEM subjects.

Community Spaces

Vibrant communities attract businesses, tourists and skilled workers. We seek to ensure citizens within our communities have access to special places celebrating cultural diversity, artistic expression, our natural environment and the social interactions that enrich our lives. We believe such community spaces contribute to the distinct identity of cities or towns. This creates destinations where families, businesses and visitors want to be. We prioritize funding for programs and projects that:

  • Foster an appreciation for arts, culture and diversity with a focus on efforts bringing community members together.
  • Preserve and share the unique history of local communities including projects documenting their connections to Union Pacific's history and other rail-related efforts.
  • Provide clean, safe, and positive outdoor recreational or educational opportunities fostering an appreciation for our natural environment.
  • Beautify neighborhoods and main street areas by improving the living environment, promoting commerce and attracting more residents, businesses and visitors to town.
  • Lay the groundwork for prosperous communities through planning and multiple stakeholder engagement.
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Building America Report 2016 - Community Spaces

Community Spaces Spotlight

Our $10,000 donation to the San Antonio River Foundation will provide 20 percent of the funding required for renewable photovoltaic lighting at Confluence Park. When completed, Confluence Park will provide the community with an innovative learning space, designed to inspire students and adults to preserve the area's waterways.

The Union Pacific Foundation proudly supports local United Way organizations across our operating regions. Union Pacific and the Union Pacific Foundation have a longstanding partnership with the United Way, which we believe is a vital resource and contributor to communities across the country.

The Union Pacific Foundation supported thousands of organizations working to make our communities better places for almost 60 years. Organizations supported in 2016 include those listed below. More information is available in Union Pacific's Inside Track news page.

  • The Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy
    (HETRA) in Gretna, Nebraska, which provides an alternative to hospital therapy for those with disabilities.
  • The Colorado Center for the Blind
    in Littleton, Colorado, for which our funding has helped provide education and sports programs.
  • Mujeres de la Tierra
    , an organization which teaches women
  • The Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center
    in Sugar Land, and their children to take ownership and leadership of Los Texas, an organization transforming communities through Angeles-area neighborhoods. innovative child-centered learning.

Making a Difference in Our Communities

Union Pacific's business is inextricably linked with communities – and we strive to tackle problems, find solutions and make positive impacts. This includes recruiting efforts and responding in times of crisis.

  • University Partnerships

    Union Pacific's partnerships with universities and colleges across America support students navigating transitions into the professional world. Our initiatives include student mentoring, mock interviews, rail yard tours and internship opportunities. Students also are challenged to find innovative solutions for real-world business challenges.

    In Spring 2016, 30 students learned about preparing for successful careers as auditors or financial analysts at a two-day leadership summit at the Union Pacific Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Sessions covered leadership, corporate life, effective presentations, networking and opportunities at Union Pacific. Participants built leadership skills and networked with peers from 12 Union Pacific partner universities.

  • Building America Report 2016 - Supporting Communities in Crisis

    Supporting Communities In Crisis

    With more than 70,000 residents seeking assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency declared Louisiana's 2016 flooding a major disaster. When a crisis such as this strikes one of our communities, Union Pacific responds through a broad range of different community channels.

    We donated $10,000 directly to the American Red Cross to support disaster relief and matched our employees' contributions.

    Friend-to-Friend, an employee-operated organization that helps fellow colleagues in need, provided additional financial assistance to 80 Union Pacific employees affected by the flooding. Union Pacific also made a $15,000 contribution supporting the Louisiana Small Business Rebirth Fund's efforts to provide quick relief for impacted businesses with triage loans.

    In addition to financial support, our Peer Support network was on hand 24/7 to help Union Pacific employees affected by the disaster.

  • Building America Report 2016 - Community Support

    Community Support

    The sister-city relationship between Omaha, Nebraska and Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, goes beyond cultural exchanges. In 2016, the city of Omaha asked Union Pacific to support a humanitarian effort by delivering four ambulances, breathing machines and other life-saving tools to Xapala's emergency responders. Our employees redesigned rail cars to accommodate the unique 2,000-mile delivery—all at no charge. The equipment helps address a dangerous shortfall in emergency services for Veracruz's residents living far from the nearest hospital.

  • Building America Report 2016 - Leading the Fight Against Suicide

    Leading The Fight Against Suicide

    Seventy-six suicides and 11 suicide attempts took place on Union Pacific railroad tracks in 2016. More than 200 Union Pacific train crew members witnessed these tragedies unfold. In addition, suicide among employees and their families makes us vividly aware suicide is a national issue.

    In August, we hosted the inaugural Rail Summit Conference on Suicide Prevention, uniting 50 transportation professionals from different rail businesses and associations across the country. Union Pacific hosted a system-wide Suicide Awareness Day a month later, raising awareness of support networks available when our employees reach crisis points in their lives.

  • Matching Our Employees' Generosity

    Union Pacific's GivePlus program matches employee donations to non-profit organizations, dollar-for-dollar, up to an agreed maximum matching limit for each employee. Our annual employee matching limit increased to $25,000 per employee in 2015. We matched our employees' generosity and donated $2.3 million for non-profit organizations improving our communities, a $500,000 increase from 2015.

University Spotlight

At Brigham Young University, students helped develop a device improving aerodynamism and fuel efficiency of Union Pacific trains. We are exploring additional applications for the device across our network. More information available on Preserving the Environment.

Photo: Justin Millerberg lines up Arrowedge 3.0 for wind tunnel testing, which led to improved intermodal rail car aerodynamics.

Building America Report 2016 - University Spotlight