Our History

The Mastercard Foundation was created in 2006 by Mastercard International and operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors. Since its founding, the Foundation has grown from a small “start-up” with just three employees to one of the largest foundations in the world. With commitments of over US$2.2 billion, we have partnered with more than 140 visionary organizations to increase financial inclusion and access to youth learning in Africa. Together, we have improved the lives of more than 33.1 million people and their families.


2006: On the day of its initial public offering, Mastercard shareholders make an unprecedented gift of shares to create an independent foundation

2008: The Foundation launches partnership with BRAC to expand financial services to two million people across Uganda

2009: Decision to focus on Africa

2011: $500 million Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program established to educate next-generation ethical leaders

2013: The inaugural Mastercard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion elevates the focus on clients within the industry

2013: Intake of 2,907 Wings to Fly Scholars ranked in the top five percent of national primary school exam scores welcomed

2014: Partnership launched with the White House on the Young African Leaders Initiative to promote entrepreneurship across Africa

2015: Inaugural Young Africa Works Summit sets the bar with youth-led solutions to employment in the agricultural sector

2015: The Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity spurs innovative financing to smallholder farmers

2016: The Foundation celebrates its first ten years and prepares for the next decade of impact in Africa

2017: Decision to focus on youth unemployment in Africa and shift to a country-based approach to programming

2018: Young Africa Works strategy launched in Kigali, Rwanda, with the announcement of an ambitious goal: enable 30 million young people, particularly young women, to secure dignified and meaningful work