Mastercard has announced a five-year, $500 million commitment to help close the racial wealth and opportunity gap for Black communities.
The initiative will support efforts to provide African Americans and the businesses they operate with access to affordable capital, financial tools, and products and services and includes support for existing programs in Atlanta, Birmingham, Dayton, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, and St. Louis. In Atlanta, for instance, Mastercard will work with the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and the Stand-up Atlanta initiative to expand a disbursement program that provides rent relief to Atlantans facing eviction, while in Los Angeles the financial services giant will work with the L.A. Mayors Fund and Accelerator for America to expand the Angeleno Card initiative.
Mastercard also will work to reduce the cost and improve access to digital financial tools and services through African American-owned digital banking platform MoCaFi and the Mastercard Money Connect Solutions, and will expand its business relationships with the Accion Opportunity Fund, the Community Reinvestment Fund, and other community development financial institutions (CDFIs). And in collaboration with the National Urban League, it will work to foster job creation and workforce development opportunities through the development of Entrepreneurship Centers and Workforce Development Pathways.
"This is a time for action. We have an obligation as a corporate citizen to ensure the digital economy is enabled for all, an obligation to be part of the positive change Black communities so rightly need now," said Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga. "We are starting in cities across the country with on-the-ground efforts meant to drive out inequities and create the opportunities, connections and resources that will spark economic growth for the long term."
"Black entrepreneurs have battled decades of historical disinvestment that have limited access to necessary resources and funding that enable economic empowerment. And research has shown that Black small business owners have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic," said National Urban League president and CEO Marc Morial. "We are proud to expand our long-standing partnership with Mastercard to launch a new leadership institute that will equip community leaders with necessary skills to combat these economic injustices in Black communities."