In solidarity: Standing against racism and advancing equal opportunity for all

June 25, 2020

This message was shared with Mastercard employees on June 25, 2020. 


At Mastercard, diversity—embracing colleagues who look, act and, importantly, THINK differently—makes us stronger as teams, as a company, and as members of society. It’s about people of different races and religions, gender identities and sexual orientations, nationalities and ethnicities. It’s how we guard against our blind spots and see the longer path to opportunity ahead. 

The magic of diversity is that when you give people a level playing field, they will win—we will win—because they always had the potential to do so, when given the chance. 

The magic of diversity is understanding, knowing, deeply believing that there is no place for racism or discrimination in our community or in our hearts. 

The magic of diversity is that it allows us to be better, and do better.

The past few weeks have been a time of reckoning. On the one hand, we’ve seen understandable sadness, anger and frustration over the horrifying acts of violence and discrimination against the Black community. And on the other, we’ve seen an extraordinary level of dialogue, openness and calls to action. 

We can’t squander this momentum and opportunity to effect change. On the heels of our first Mastercard Day of Solidarity on Juneteenth, we’re primed and ready to act. Decency has long been central to who we are as a company and everything we do at Mastercard. We have worked for many years to promote inclusion and equality, but we still have more to do to confront and combat racism in all its forms.

So, today, Michael Miebach and I would like to share key pieces of our plan, In Solidarity: Standing Against Racism and Advancing Equal Opportunity for All. Sponsored by Tim Murphy and Michael Fraccaro, and chaired by Ron Green, this company-wide, long-term initiative reflects discussions with our Black leaders, the LEAD Business Resource Group and others about the impact that we can and must drive for our people, for the market and for society at large – around the world. 


Mastercard is home to some of the smartest, kindest and most creative people on the planet. We want, and need, to attract more people like that—from all experiences, backgrounds and ethnicities—who will continue to push us forward. So, we are enhancing our end-to-end talent program to ensure we’re recruiting, developing and retaining Black employees at every level. This includes:

  • Embracing Inclusive Leadership through a global training program for all employees that is anchored to the Mastercard Way and gives life to our core belief that inclusion is a leadership skill. 
  • Bolstering our Black employee recruitment through new and expanded partnerships with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and key organizations. And, we will bring a heightened focus on diversity within our existing new hire programs across all regions. 
  • Growing our Black leadership at the VP-level and above by 50% by 2025. 
  • Launching the Employee Solidarity Initiative to further an open, healthy dialogue about race and inclusion within and outside the company – underscoring that there is no tolerance for racism at Mastercard. The initiative will include ongoing Open Circle discussions led by our chief inclusion officer on progress against the plan; opportunities for individuals to share their stories; education; increased support for Business Resource Groups; and personal counseling resources. In addition, the Mastercard Day of Solidarity will become an annual Community Day. 
  • Investing in Black colleagues by increasing participation in formal training, mentorship, sponsorship, skill development and health and well-being programs. Our aim is to retain and fuel our talent pipeline and ensure equitable opportunities for career advancement. In the next 90 days, we have asked Michael Fraccaro and Randall Tucker to review our current programs, policies and practices to see what’s working and where we have gaps so we can continue to improve. We’re committed to getting this right.
  • Increasing transparency into our workforce—and progress made toward our goals—with annual reporting on Black and other minority representation in managerial positions, interview slates and hiring, where geographically possible. 


For more than 50 years, Mastercard has been a trusted way to pay. But, we also know the broader financial system is fraught with inconsistencies, injustice and exclusion. We need to expand what we’re talking about when we say the “integrity of our network” to ensure our technology is benefiting all. This includes:

  • Conducting a review of payments and adjacent ecosystems for biases, inequities and weaknesses in how we serve the varied needs within Black communities, from the affluent to the underserved. With a group of key partners, we will highlight strengths and opportunities and address them through future product development and marketing. 
  • Respecting and promoting human rights in the use of our network, particularly as it relates to issues impacting the Black community. We will use our newly adopted Human Rights Statement as the guidepost for future network policies. 
  • Expanding our annual spending with Black suppliers—including manufacturers, service providers and law firms—by more than 70 percent to $100 million annually by 2025, ensuring even more of our resources are directed to minority-led companies around the world. We will also look at other aspects of our procurement processes to ensure best practices, such as strengthening our prohibitions on prison labor in our supply chains. 
  • Reviewing our brand work through the lens of racism and bias, with a view to enhancing our already strong performance. In an upcoming Open Circle forum, we will share our approach to ensuring inclusion in all marketing and communications campaigns. In addition, our chief marketing & communications officer will convene an employee advisory group to help the team further advance inclusion in all future efforts.


Connecting people—to each other and to opportunity—is what Mastercard is all about. Our focus on financial inclusion led to 500 million more individuals in the financial mainstream. Our focus on volunteerism has led to untold impacts among the girls and boys, families and communities reached. There is now an urgency to bring heightened focus to the Black community outside our four walls. This includes:

  • Doubling down on addressing the wealth and opportunity gap faced by Black communities, drawing on assets from across the company—including our technology, partnerships, products and services—and furthering longstanding efforts to advance financial inclusion. This includes expanding the Center for Inclusive Growth’s research agenda and partnerships to account for the specific issues and input of the Black community; increasing the Mastercard Impact Fund’s support for organizations such as the Community Reinvestment Fund that tackle issues faced by Black entrepreneurs and small businesses; promoting equitable economic development through strategies coordinated by CityPossible; and ensuring that our work on products addressing the financially vulnerable take into account the particular interests of the Black community. We’ll share details as we build investment plans that meet our high standards for effectiveness and impact.
  • Taking a leadership role in public policy and advocacy efforts on police reform and criminal justice reform, building on our current relationships with the Business Roundtable and the National Urban League. We’ll also stay engaged on other priority topics impacting equality for Black and other communities as they evolve. 
  • Building on our rich practice of employee volunteerism to devote even more time to organizations and activities that most directly impact Black communities around the world, including education and training. If each employee used just one of their five volunteer days in service of this vision, it would amount to 160,000 hours of added support each year.
  • Deepening our partnership with the National Urban League by launching the Entrepreneurship & Workforce Resource Partnership. This intensive program will build on our recent $5 million donation and draw on analytics and technology assets, mentorships, Mastercard Labs, and other resources to support 5,000 Black entrepreneurs by 2025. We’ll also work with the Urban League to establish a new leadership institute to help train community leaders to deliver much-needed services and advocacy in Black communities.
  • Enhancing our community partnerships with other leading civil rights organizations and expanding our well-regarded Master Your Card financial literacy program in Black communities by investing in our ability to deliver it digitally, at scale, in schools and through other channels.
  • Examining how racism and bias, LGBTQ+ issues and other inclusion dimensions factor into our government engagement and company advocacy work around the world. In the U.S., this includes the parameters for PAC giving, which will be discussed in an upcoming Open Circle forum. We are suspending political giving in the U.S. until this conversation can take place. In addition, our general counsel will convene an employee advisory group to advise the policy teams on potential impacts to minority communities. 

As we said before, In Solidarity is designed to use the full breadth of our company’s resources to combat discrimination and racism—harnessing our culture of decency and building on our efforts to advance inclusion and equality. The initial focus, as it must be, will be Black communities in the United States. But, key aspects of this plan can and will be adapted into regional inclusion plans to address the unique needs of local markets and communities and combat all forms of discrimination around the globe. 

We’re energized and excited by what we’re seeing and what Mastercard is doing. That’s the magic of diversity. It’s infectious, it’s inspiring and it’s empowering. 

The magic of diversity is that we all benefit. 

So, we’re selfish about diversity. We want more of that magic in our lives. Embrace diversity because it’s good for others, but also embrace it because it’s good for you. Be selfish about diversity. Advocate for it. Demand it. 

Let’s get this done.


Ajay Banga, CEO, Mastercard

Michael Miebach, President, Mastercard