Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. It was established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company.

The Mastercard Foundation is an independent organization and its policies, operations, and program decisions are determined by its own Board of Directors and senior leadership team. It is a registered Canadian charity with offices in Toronto, Kigali, Accra and Nairobi, Kampala, Lagos, Dakar, and Addis Ababa.

The Mastercard Foundation provided USD 1.3 billion for development in 2021 through its grantmaking activities. Compared to 2020, this amount represents an increase of 31.5% in real terms.

In 2021, the Mastercard Foundation provided USD 781.5 million as its COVID-19 response, representing 59% of its development finance. In real terms, this is an increase of more than three times compared to 2020 when the foundation provided USD 227.1 million. In 2021, a total of USD 686 million was provided for COVID-19 control and other health-related activities, including provision of COVID-19 vaccines, accounting for 87.8% of its total COVID-19 response.

In 2021, the Mastercard Foundation provided USD 670.5 million to the multilateral system, representing 50.6% of its development finance, all of which was earmarked for specific countries, regions, themes or purposes.

All of this financing was provided to the United Nations (UN) system, notably UNICEF (USD 662.9 million), FAO (USD 5.6 million) and UNHCR (USD 1.7 million).

See the section on geographic and thematic focus for the geographical and thematic breakdown of bilateral allocations earmarked through the multilateral development system.

In 2021, the Mastercard Foundation channelled its contributions mostly through multilateral organisations (USD 670.5 million), universities, research institutes, or think tanks (USD 332.6 million) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society (USD 151.8 million).

In 2021, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 151.8 million of the Mastercard Foundation’s development finance, all of which was earmarked to specific projects.

In 2021, the Mastercard Foundation’s development finance was primarily focused on Africa. USD 1.3 billion was allocated to Sub-Saharan Africa. Only USD 0.3 million (0.02%) of the foundation’s development finance was unallocated by region.

Within Africa, Eastern Africa was provided USD 284.5 million and Western Africa 245 million, representing respectively 21.5% and 18.5% of the Mastercard Foundation’s development finance. USD 788.3 million (59.5%) was allocated to Sub-Saharan Africa without specific country allocation.

In 2021, 38.5% of development finance went to the top 10 recipients. The Mastercard Foundation’s most significant recipients included Ghana (USD 138.5 million), Rwanda (USD 101.3 million) and Ethiopia (USD 71.1 million). Moreover, 59.6% of development finance was not allocated by country.

Least developed countries (LDCs) received USD 276.3 million (20.9%) of Mastercard Foundation’s gross disbursements in 2021. Further, the foundation allocated 19.2% of its development finance to lower middle income countries (19.2%) in 2021, noting that USD 788.6 million (59.6%) was unallocated by income group.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 258.4 million in 2021, representing 19.5% of Mastercard Foundation’s development finance. Of this extremely fragile contexts received USD 4.6 million.

Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

In 2021, more than three-quarters of the Mastercard Foundation’s commitments were allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 76.2% of commitments (USD 1.2 billion), with a strong focus on support to health and population (USD 947 million) and education (USD 267.4 million). Contributions to economic infrastructure and services totalled USD 336.9 million (20.6%), focusing on banking & financial services.

In 2021, the Mastercard Foundation committed the largest shares of its contributions to the goals of good health and well-being (SDG 3), reduced inequalities (SDG 10) and decent work and economic growth (SDG 8). Support for gender equality (SDG 5) amounted to USD 368.8 million.

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The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, the Sustainable Development Goal focus of private development finance, channels of delivery, unspecified/unallocated allocations, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.

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