Mastercard Launches Toolkit to Help Community Leaders Drive Sustainable, Inclusive Growth

October 21, 2019 | Washington, DC, | By Caroline Niven
    • Groundbreaking Inclusive Growth Toolkit reveals new insights about the nature and potential of Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs)
    • Toolkit provides more timely, local data-driven insights for community leaders to encourage sustainable, long-term investment 

 The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth is unveiling a groundbreaking suite of tools that will provide local leaders with timely data-driven insights on the current state of and potential for inclusive growth in their communities. The announcement comes as private and public sector leaders gather in Washington for the inaugural Global Inclusive Growth Summit.

For the first time the new Inclusive Growth Toolkit brings together a clear, simple view of social and economic growth in underserved communities across the U.S., at the census-tract level. This was created in response to growing demand from community leaders for more evidence-based insights, to help them steer impact investment dollars to locally-led economic development initiatives, unlock the potential of neighborhoods, and improve quality of life for all.

The Inclusive Growth Toolkit includes:

    • The Inclusive Growth Score - an interactive online map where users can view measures of inclusion and growth and then download a PDF Scorecard for any of the QOZs at census tract level.
    • A deep-dive analytics consultancy service that provides community leaders with customized insights to inform policy decisions, prospectus development, and impact investor discussions.

The initial design of the toolkit is focused on driving sustainable growth for the 37+ million people living in the 8700+ QOZs throughout the United States. This comprehensive picture reveals that neighborhoods can look very different and may require different types of interventions to achieve successful and sustainable growth.

To date, stakeholders have often relied on generalized, outdated sources of information that aren’t connected. This new approach provides one simple view, bringing together a broad set of sources, including publicly available information[1], firmographic data from third party data providers and unique and timely insights based on Mastercard’s anonymized and aggregated transaction data.

“To achieve better outputs we need to ensure better inputs” said Mike Froman, Chairman, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. “At Mastercard, we’re working to build a digital economy that works for everyone everywhere.  That requires us to apply the full range of our assets – from philanthropy and thought leadership to products, technology, data science and expertise. We are working hand in hand with community leaders in a collaborative effort to reimagine growth.”

The Inclusive Growth Score uses 18 different metrics under three pillars (place, economy and community) to reflect the social and economic profile of a neighborhood and the potential it may hold. It also provides a baseline from which to understand change as investments start to flow. Example metrics include: percentage of affordable housing, growth in small business loans, growth in spending, and early education enrollment. Scores for both inclusion and growth can be viewed and compared against all QOZs in the USA, in the same state, in the same metro area, or in the same urban code.

The methodology was developed with input from the Urban Institute, the Economic Innovation Group, The Governance Project, Accelerator for America, and the Center of Rural Innovation.

 Local Community Engagement

The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth has been working with local stakeholders on-the-ground in their cities to combine data-driven insights with local knowledge to uncover opportunities, for example, where there might be spending power but no grocery stores in a particular neighborhood. These local deep dives are already helping teams in Erie, Louisville, Chicago, New Orleans, and Oklahoma City to validate or accelerate community investment programs.

“Initially, outside consultants recommended a 20-25 year development plan. But thanks to Opportunity Zones and other factors, such as Mastercard’s data-driven insights, we have shortened this development plan to 5 years.” John Persinger, Erie Economic Development Corporation

“When we’re trying to create economic activity in challenged areas, we’re often held back by perceptions,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, “but with data like this we can persuasively communicate a message of potential."

“The insights can help local advocates fight the battle of perceptions in the developer and investor communities. These insights are not for what the community was, but for what can be. It allows us to forecast a better life in these communities.” Norman Barnum, CFO, New Orleans Business Alliance. 

The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth is also partnering with Accelerator for America and the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) to provide assistance to local leaders in attracting the most impactful investments for everyone in their communities.


About the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth 

The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth focuses on promoting equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. As a subsidiary of Mastercard, the Center leverages the company’s data insights, expertise and technology, along with administering the Mastercard Impact Fund’s philanthropic investments, to empower a community of thinkers, leaders and innovators on the front lines of inclusive growth.  For more information and to receive its latest insights, follow the Center on Twitter @CNTR4growthsubscribe to its newsletter and visit

Visit our Digital Press Kit to find out more about the announcements coming out of the Global Inclusive growth Summit.

[1] Data from the American Community Survey (ACS)

Caroline Niven