Lionel Messi, Mastercard's global football ambassador, launches new campaign to raise funds for children's health & education

September 5, 2022 | Brussels
  • Mastercard supports Save the Children ahead of UEFA Champions League Group Stages through the UEFA Foundation for Children
  • Campaign will promote sports and educational activities as driving forces for change in UK, Italy and Spain
  • Messi will be joined by global ambassadors Jordan Henderson, Giorgio Chiellini and Álvaro Morata

Footballing legend Lionel Messi has kicked off a new fundraising campaign with Mastercard supporting Save the Children, which sees him reflect on how football gave him the opportunities that many children lack in a new video.

Through this partnership, Mastercard, in cooperation with the UEFA Foundation, is supporting Save the Children on the new initiative, which aims to help children in poverty realise their potential through the power of football, other sports and educational activities, such as literacy and the arts.

Messi is joined by some of the best footballers from the UK, Italy and Spain to drive donations and support local children in each of their countries. Liverpool FC captain and England midfielder Jordan Henderson heads up the UK’s programme which aims to help disadvantaged children up to the age of 16 access free activities throughout the 2023 summer holidays. Encouraging young people to build life skills and engage in ongoing learning and development is a core part of Save the Children’s work, and UK donations will go towards supporting 600 families and over 1,000 children in Manchester and North Tyneside.  

Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini launches the campaign next week to his fans, aiming to raise funds to allow children and young adults in the country’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods access to Punti Luce education centres. These centres promote free access to educational activities, a healthy diet and have a huge mix of sport and movement workshops, from football to volleyball and sailing – activities that would otherwise be completely inaccessible to those living in deprived and underserved neighbourhoods.

In Spain, international and Club Atlético de Madrid striker Álvaro Morata is driving donations to support 220 children in poverty and at risk of social exclusion. The holistic programme will see them given psychological support while providing opportunities to play sport and study values and creativity.

Giancarla Pancione, Marketing and Fundraising Director at Save the Children Italy, said, “The number of children and adolescents in poverty throughout Europe dramatically rose in the last decade. This amplifies educational inequalities and penalises the future of the most disadvantaged girls, boys and teenagers, who are paying the heaviest price. This partnership is a way of joining forces and putting our best resources at their service, in order to fulfill their potential and built a brighter future.”

Mastercard is supporting the programmes by providing the technology to allow people to donate to the cause, and matching donations made up to €300,000. The campaign forms part of Mastercard’s Cause Enablement work, in which it is transforming the digital donation world to make it easier for charities to connect donors to causes, and make seamless giving possible for everyone, everywhere.

The donation widgets will be accessible through links from the ambassador, Mastercard, and partner social media channels as well as through ad banners on and editorial. Additionally, donations will be taken through purchases made on the official UEFA Club Competitions Online Store on

“At Mastercard, we believe in doing well by doing good. It’s vitally important to us that our technology and networks power sustainable impact,” said Jeannette Liendo, Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications at Mastercard Europe. “We are proud of this initiative and hope it, and our outstanding ambassadors, will enable the right resources so that every child can reach for the stars.”

Urs Kluser, General Secretary at the UEFA Foundation for Children, said, “This generous support from Mastercard will make a big difference for the beneficiaries of this program. It will allow more children in need to grow up healthy, to have access to education and sport, and get a chance for a better future.”

Donations can be made via the ambassador posts, on the official UEFA Club Competitions Online Store on, or by clicking on the links through Mastercard and Save The Children social media channels plus

Media Contacts

Alice Brown, Mastercard

About Save the Children

At Save the Children, we want every child to have a future. We work every day with passion, determination and professionality in Italy and around the world to give children the opportunity to be born and grow up healthy, receive an education and be protected.

When an emergency breaks out, we are among the first to arrive and the last to leave.

We work with local realities and partners to create a network that helps us to meet the needs of children, guarantee their rights and listen to their voice. We concretely improve the lives of millions of children, including those most difficult to reach.

Save the Children, since over 100 years, fights to save children at risk and guarantee them a future.

About UEFA Foundation

Established in 2015, the UEFA Foundation for Children is a charitable organisation governed by Swiss law. It defends the rights of underprivileged children by using the power of football to improve their lives and to help them develop their potential and find their place in the community. The foundation currently invests in 133 projects and so far to 412 projects in 131 countries worldwide. More than 2,180,000 children have already benefited from the foundation's work since its creation.

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.  

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