Press release

Upwork Unveils Inaugural Grant Winners Through the Upwork Foundation Initiative

Sponsored by Businesswire

Upwork, the leading online talent solution, today announced the winning recipients resulting from its first call for grant applications through The Upwork Foundation, an initiative designed to open up new prospects for those at risk of being left behind by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Grants in the amount of $50,000 each were awarded to three nonprofits: African Entrepreneur Collective, Code Nation, and Pivotal. Each recipient supports the Initiative’s goals of building a future of inclusive learning and economic opportunity.

“Our mission is to create economic opportunities so people have better lives – and we are thrilled to offer these grants to help bolster communities at risk of being left behind with the changing nature of work,” said Anna Ninan, Senior Director leading The Upwork Foundation initiative. “We were floored by the 170+ proposals we received from impressive and diverse nonprofits. Ultimately our final grantees stood out for their exceptional work to help underserved communities as they start their climb up the economic opportunity ladder.”

Grant recipients and their respective projects include:

African Entrepreneur Collective

African Entrepreneur Collective provides training focused on business development and debt financing for refugee entrepreneurs in East Africa to drive economic growth within their communities. Their programs are predicated upon the notion that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are key drivers of economic growth in Africa and similarly around the globe.

This award will support AEC’s expansion of programs to serve additional geographic areas of Africa, increase entrepreneur training and consulting, and increase loan capabilities. With these efforts, AEC intends to train and consult 9,200 refugees in Rwanda and Kenya in 2020.

Code Nation

Code Nation prepares youth from under-resourced high schools across New York, the Bay Area, and Chicago for careers in technology through coding education and workforce readiness programs. By partnering with schools where at least 75% of the student population qualifies for free and reduced lunch, they are able to target under-represented groups to extend training for technology jobs, instill passion for technology, and aim to increase hiring rates for underrepresented groups.

This award will support Code Nation’s free coding education and career preparation programs for high school youth. Code Nation’s long-term goal is for 60% of alumni to secure a high-wage career in the tech sector, thereby generating additional revenue within their communities.


Pivotal aims to tackle education and employment disparities among youth in foster care. To address the high rates of school dropout, unemployment, teen pregnancy, and other unique challenges faced among over 400,000 kids in foster care, Pivotal’s programs are designed to provide comprehensive support to youth transitioning from the foster care system.

This award will support Pivotal’s Path to Self-Sufficiency for Foster Youth Program. The program seeks to address high school graduation rates, provide focused academic and employment coaching to over 300 high school and college participants, prepare and place 115 foster youth into paid summer internships, and achieve high rates of internship completion.

Grants will be funded by proceeds from an equity contribution through a donor-advised fund in partnership with the Tides Foundation.

About Upwork

Upwork is the leading online talent solution transforming professional staffing. We empower businesses with more flexible access to quality talent, on demand. Through Upwork’s matching technology and services, companies have access to a global pool of proven professionals so they can scale their teams dynamically to meet business needs. Upwork also provides skilled professionals access to more opportunities.

Upwork’s mission is to create economic opportunities so people have better lives. The community of independent professionals working via Upwork spans many categories including software development, creative & design, finance & accounting, consulting, operations and customer support—over 8,000 skills are represented.

More than thirty percent of the Fortune 500 use Upwork. Clients include Airbnb, Automattic, GE, and Microsoft.

Upwork is headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., with offices in Chicago and San Francisco as well as team members in more than 800 cities worldwide. For more information, visit Upwork’s website at, join us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

About The Upwork Foundation

The Upwork Foundation furthers the company’s mission to create economic opportunities so people have better lives. It aims to build a future of inclusive learning and opportunity by serving those at risk of being left behind by the Fourth Industrial Revolution as well as supporting other nonprofits and its own employees in volunteering. The program supports four key areas, including giving; partnerships; product; and volunteering. The Upwork Foundation initiative includes a donor-advised fund created through the Tides Foundation. For more information, visit