Mastercard Foundation

Established in 2006, the Mastercard Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation with headquarters in Canada, endowed with shares in Mastercard International. The foundation operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors.

The Mastercard Foundation partners with visionary organisations to advance education and financial inclusion to catalyse prosperity in developing countries, particularly in Africa.

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The Mastercard Foundation provided USD 870.8 million for development in 2020 through its grantmaking activities. Compared to 2019, this amount represents an increase of 193% in real terms.

In 2020, the Mastercard Foundation provided USD 226.9 million of its total contributions for the COVID-19 response, representing 26% of its total gross bilateral development finance. Furthermore, 10% of total gross development finance was provided as health expenditure within the COVID-19 response. Most of this finance was extended from the Mastercard Foundaton’s COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program. Overall, in 2020, the Mastercard Foundation was the second most generous private provider in terms COVID-19 contributions.

In 2020, the Mastercard Foundation provided USD 23.6 million to the multilateral system, or 3% of its development finance, all of which was earmarked for specific countries, regions, themes or purposes. The Mastercard Foundation channelled its multilateral aid through United Nations (UN) entities and the World Bank Group.

The UN system received USD 18.6 million from the Mastercard Foundation in 2020, of which USD 10 million went to the FAO, USD 8.4 million to UNICEF and USD 0.2 million to UNECA.

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

In 2020, the Mastercard Foundation channelled its grants mostly through universities, research institutes and think tanks as well as public-private partnerships and the (for-profit) private sector.

Most of these contributions were provided as project-type interventions and scholarships in high-income as well as developing countries.

In 2020, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 118.2 million of the Mastercard Foundation’s gross bilateral finance, all of which was earmarked for projects initiated by the provider.

In 2020, the Mastercard Foundation’s development finance was primarily focused on Africa (USD 859.7 million, or 99% of gross bilateral contributions).

In 2020, 73% of gross development finance went to the Mastercard Foundation’s top 10 recipients, the most significant of which were Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.

Least developed countries received USD 417.1 million (48%) of the Mastercard Foundation’s gross disbursements in 2020, followed by middle-income countries, which received 30% of its grants. Moreover, 22% was unallocated by income group.

Moreover, the Mastercard Foundation allocated USD 24.6 million of its gross development finance to small island developing states in 2020.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 268.5 million in 2020, representing 31% of the Mastercard Foundation’s development finance.

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

In 2020, 75% of the Mastercard Foundation’s contributions were allocated to social infrastructure and services, 13% to economic infrastructure and services, and 11% to production sectors. In terms of sectors, the Mastercard Foundation’s largest allocations went to education, financial and business services, and agriculture.

In terms of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Mastercard Foundation committed most of its contributions to SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities) and SDG 4 (quality education) of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Moreover, USD 209.1 million (16%) was aimed at supporting SDG 5 (gender equality).

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

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