Mastercard: Giving Back to the World

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Mastercard’s Brand Acts of Kindness, like its brand, are global in scope

From the classroom to the boardroom, America’s financial landscape is scarred by racial and social inequities, deepened all too often these days by the COVID-19 crisis. Within the St. Louis public school system, for example, a 2020 Washington University survey uncovered rampant inequities with the potential to undermine the academic performance of children in underserved communities.

Mastercard is on the ground in St. Louis, working to eliminate such disparities in the city’s public schools and partnering with community organizations to expand mentoring and internship opportunities for minority youth. For example, more than 260 area women have acquired technical skills through the MasterCard-sponsored LaunchCode’s CoderGirl program and the company has hired 80 tech apprentices, of whom 45% came from diverse backgrounds and 70% were women.

That’s just St. Louis. Through its five-year, $500 million In Solidarity initiative, Mastercard has joined forces with local leaders to foster growth and opportunity for Black communities in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New Orleans and a dozen other cities. Much of the effort is focused on providing services, technology and investments to ensure that Black-owned businesses have access to affordable financial tools and capital. In addition, a $5 million grant announced this year will fund the launch of a Center for Black Entrepreneurship by two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)—Morehouse College and Spelman College.

Building on In Solidarity, Mastercard’s Strivers Initiative aims to increase the visibility—and viability—of Black female entrepreneurs and their businesses. And in New York, the company has made its data tools available to the city in order to inform budget planning, optimize aid disbursement, and prioritize investment to support those merchants most impacted by the pandemic.

While these are expressly U.S.-centric efforts, Mastercard’s acts of brand kindness—like its brand—are truly global in scope. Through Strive, a $25 million initiative launched this past September, the company will help more than five million micro and small businesses across Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Asia access the tools they need to digitize and thrive in today’s fast-changing global economy. The idea, says Shamina Singh, President and founder of the MasterCard center for inclusive growth, “is to meet owners where they are and connect them to the resources they are telling us they need to succeed and grow over the long term.” The company has also committed $25 million to ensure equitable access to COVID vaccines throughout the world.

From Carpenter Group’s perspective, few corporations have merged their business and social values more successfully. Visit their website and the first words you see on the home page are “Experience the world with Mastercard.” Then scroll down, and the next two messages appear with the same type treatment: “We stand against racism” and “Our commitment to cardholders during COVID-19.” This is a company for whom smart business and good works are clearly in balance.


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About Brand Acts of Kindness® 

Brand Acts of Kindness® is a series from Carpenter Group that spotlights companies across industries that are living their brand values in addressing the unprecedented challenges facing the world today.

The series initially headlined companies assisting healthcare workers and first responders, as well as communities, businesses and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also highlight brands taking the lead in supporting social and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, sustainability and the environment. Their stories show how innovation, resolve and action, built on a solid value proposition, can both strengthen a brand and help create a better world.

About Carpenter Group

Carpenter Group is an independent, woman-owned strategic branding, messaging and marketing communications firm that has delivered results-driven solutions to financial, professional services and technology firms for 30+ years.

Our broad cross-discipline experience enables us to craft brand messaging and carry it through to the channels that most effectively connect with our clients’ target audience, from editorial content to advertising to event marketing and more.