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Huang, H. Mastercard Foundation. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 03 December 2023).
Huang H. Mastercard Foundation. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed December 03, 2023.
Huang, Handwiki. "Mastercard Foundation" Encyclopedia, (accessed December 03, 2023).
Huang, H.(2022, October 28). Mastercard Foundation. In Encyclopedia.
Huang, Handwiki. "Mastercard Foundation." Encyclopedia. Web. 28 October, 2022.
Mastercard Foundation

Mastercard Foundation is a global foundation established by Mastercard in 2006. Since its creation, the Foundation has partnered with a number of worldwide Non-governmental organizations and core partners aiming to ameliorate financial life, primarily in the Global South. Its objective is to use a $2 billion endowment on Microfinance programs. With these programs, the Foundation's goal is to make global economics more accessible to people around the world. These programs also strive to give youth around the world new educational experiences and access to financial services and programs.

global economics financial services worldwide

1. President & CEO

  • Reeta Roy[1][2]

2. Board of Directors

  • Jim Leech, CM [3] Chancellor of Queen's University; Senior Advisor with McKinsey and Company; Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
  • Craig Calhoun [3] - President of the Berggruen Institute and Centennial Professor, London School of Economics.
  • Douglas Baillie [3] - Was Chief Human Resource Officer of Unilever.
  • Jendayi Frazer [4] - Managing Partner, Africa Exchange Holdings Company and President, 50 Ventures, LLC.
  • President Festus G. Mogae [3] - Chairman of the Advisory Board of Coalition of Dialogue on Africa (CoDA), member of the Global Commission.
  • Hutham Olayan [3] - Principal, director and senior executive of the Olayan Group.
  • Baroness Valerie Amos, CH [3] - Director of SOAS, University of London.
  • Jay Ireland [3] - President and CEO of GE Africa. GE Officer and member of GE's Corporate Executive Council.
  • Zein M Abdalla [3][5] - Previous President of PepsiCo Inc., prior to which, CEO of PepsiCo Europe

3. History

Mastercard Foundation was founded in 2006, operating primarily out of Toronto. It began as a board made up of five American directors and two Canadian directors, with chairwoman Lois Juliber.[3] During the Foundation's infancy however, it began to emphasize the American contributions, and two years after the initial board was formed they named Reeta Roy [1] as president and CEO of the Foundation.

4. Partners

The Mastercard Foundation has many partners all over the world, including:

  • Opportunity International
  • One Acre Fund
  • Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

The Foundation and partners collaborate in an attempt to increase access to financial inclusion programs and services.[6]

Other partners include:

  • ACCION International
  • Aga Khan Foundation
  • BRAC
  • CARE Canada
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Freedom from Hunger
  • Grameen Foundation
  • Fonkoze
  • Microfinance Information Exchange
  • Opportunity International
  • Plan Canada, Save the Children
  • The SEEP Network
  • Women's World Banking
  • Equity Group Foundation
  • The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

The Mastercard Foundation is also in partnership with Education for Employment (EFE). This partnership committed 3.2 million dollars to introduce MORAD, a program devised to employ 15,500 Moroccan youth with a 4 year job opportunity. This program provides career building opportunities to 3,000 university graduates, many of whom are women, and also provide employment to an additional 12,500 disadvantaged youth.[7]

5. Financial Inclusion Programs

Mastercard Foundation supports a number of pilot financial inclusion projects for people living in poverty. Their projects are focused on expanding opportunities for clients and making finance more accessible. Many of the projects are based in Africa, the goal being to better financial inclusion in the Global South.[6]

5.1. Scholars Program

The Mastercard Foundation’s Scholar Program is a globally recognized program that helps youth gain access to new educational opportunities thus furthering social and economic progress among disadvantaged communities. The Scholars Program is aimed at disadvantaged, but academically inclined individuals, interested in expanding their education.[4]

Partners in the program include, but are not limited to; Queens University, the University of Gondar,[8] McGill University, the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia.[4]

With the University of Gondar and Queens University, the Foundation has a 10 year partnership in which they have invested $24.2 million in to provide advanced education opportunities to youth with disabilities in Ethiopia and Africa. For the University of Gondar this will mean 290 undergraduate degrees, and 160 master's degrees. Queens University will provide 44 PhD opportunities to faculty members of the University of Gondar. These programs are multifaceted, allowing for a wide range of diversity in education.[9]

McGill University will facilitate education for approximately 90 students from Africa. Two thirds of these students are participating in undergraduate degree programs - around half of which will be from the French speaking countries within Africa - and the remaining third will be those completing their master's degree programs.[10]

5.2. Fund for Rural Prosperity

The Mastercard Foundation's Fund for Rural Prosperity aids projects directed towards improving the lives of farmers and rural citizens in Africa.[11] In 2015, the Mastercard Foundation introduced a 50 million US dollar challenge fund in Nairobi, Africa. The purpose of this fund is to encourage the development of stronger small businesses and to help support smallholding farmers in Africa through improving the financial stability of the rural poor and impoverished in Nairobi. It will strive to ensure the successful completion of financial inclusion, and development of smallholder farmers in new geographic areas.[12]

The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity also has an innovation competition fund, managed by KPMG International Development Advisory Services, designed to help over one million poor, rural farming families improve their economic situation.[13]

5.3. Microfinance Funding

[14] In 2008, the Master Card Foundation awarded $100,000 to each of the following microfinance training institutions.

  • Boulder Institute of Microfinance,
  • Frankfurt School of Finance and Management,
  • Harvard Business School & ACCION Program on Strategic Leadership for microfinance,
  • Microfinance Centre,
  • Microfinance Management Institute, and
  • School of Applied Microfinance.

This money was donated to the six leading institutions to address a need for strong leadership and management skills. It was used to fund 200 scholarships to low-income staff for education in this sector.

5.4. Youth in Action

In 2014, the Mastercard Foundation partnered with Save the Children to help reduce unemployment rates in youth in Africa. The program is geared towards rural youth in Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda, and provides education and entrepreneurial opportunities in agriculture. Using an evidence-based model, Youth in Action looks at each participants' personal situation to determine what will guarantee them the most success in both their personal, family and community lives, then attempts to realize this success. The program also incorporates the building of reading, writing and math skills, creating meaningful employment and entrepreneurial training for youth. The end goal is to allow them to enter and thrive in the agricultural sector.[15]

5.5. Wings to Fly

In 2011, a $50 million partnership between the Mastercard Foundation and Equity Group Foundation, supported by the Department for International Development, was founded to provide secondary education and leadership development opportunities to over 5000 students in Kenya. The program, entitled Wings to Fly, is a platform for financially disadvantaged students to attend and complete secondary school, and increase chances of admittance to higher education.[16]

5.6. Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership

In partnership with the African Leadership Academy, the Mastercard Foundation launched the Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership. This program expands and improves entrepreneurship programs for youth in Africa. It also allows for easier networking in order for disadvantaged youth to avail of financial help. In 2011, the Center introduced the Anzisha scholarship to identify, celebrate and mobilize youth with aspirations in entrepreneurship, and who closely examine critical needs in their region. The idea behind the Anzisha prize is for it to eventually become similar to a Nobel Prize for youth in Africa who work to develop innovative solutions to critical problems.[17] foo


  1. Vendeville, Geoffrey (June 13, 2017). "#UofTGrad17: Three things you should know about Reeta Roy". 
  2. Opportunity International Canada (2013). "Igniting Transformational Change". 
  3. "The MasterCard Foundation Appoints Three New Members to its Board of Directors". 
  4. "McGill joins the MasterCard foundation scholars program. (2013, Apr 18). Targeted News Service.". 
  5. PR Newswire (February 4, 2010). "PepsiCo to Present at CAGNY". PR Newswire. 
  6. Miles, Ann (2015). "Reaching the Excluded Responsibly: The MasterCard Foundation's Strategy for Financial Inclusion". Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization 10 (1-2): 3–7. doi:10.1162/inov_a_00225. 
  7. Education Letter (November 11, 2011). "Education; Education for Employment and The MasterCard Foundation Partner to Increase Youth Employment in Morocco". 
  8. Health and Beauty Close - Up (January 20, 2017). "The MasterCard foundation scholars program adds the university of gondar and queen's university". 
  9. Health and Medicine Week (February 3, 2017). "The MasterCard Foundation; The University of Gondar and Queen's University Join The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program". 
  10. Targeted News Service (May 3, 2013). "McGill Joins the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program". 
  11. African Press Organisation (June 20, 2017). "The MasterCard foundation fund for rural prosperity launches new funding opportunity for financial services providers to improve the lives of poor people in rural Africa". 
  12. PR Newswire (January 20, 2015). "The MasterCard Foundation launches $50 million fund to help smallholder farmers in Africa". 
  13. Targeted News Service (February 1, 2016). "The MasterCard Foundation Launches Second Innovation Competition for Africa's Smallholder Farmers, Rural Poor". 
  14. MasterCard Foundation Launches Scholars Program to Expand Training of Microfinance Professionals. Retrieved May 14, 2008. 
  15. Target News Service (August 12, 2014). "Save the Children, in Partnership with the MasterCard Foundation, Launches Youth in Action Program". ProQuest. 
  16. PR Newswire (January 24, 2011). "Equity Group Foundation and The MasterCard Foundation Launch The Largest Secondary Education Scholarship Program in Kenya: Groundbreaking $50 million Wings to Fly partnership will enable 5,600 young Kenyans to complete secondary school". 
  17. "Encouraging young entrepreneurial Africans: The Anzisha Prize Awards". Appropriate Technology 42 (2): 46. June 2015. 
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