When Doing Well By Doing Good, Becomes an Essential Service | City Possible angle-rightlearn more indicatorFill 1link icoFill 1PlayFill 1Fill 1

When Doing Well By Doing Good, Becomes an Essential Service

Successfully scaling innovative solutions that address urban challenges


The COVID-19 outbreak has cast a spotlight on how companies are serving stakeholders amid the pandemic. Among other ripple effects, the public health crisis has created an unprecedented calling for corporate leaders to put the promise of purpose-driven leadership and stakeholder capitalism into action – and fast!

Mastercard has made a long-standing commitment to inclusive growth and deliberately invested in building an ecosystem that prioritizes commercially sustainable social impact. “Doing well by doing good” is a culture, more than a motto. That foundation has enabled us to mobilize talented people and responsive technology to help leaders assess, respond and recover from the pandemic.

In recognition of the increasing need to support vulnerable populations, Mastercard has ‘doubled-down’, with a commitment to ‘Connect 1 Billion People, 50 Million Small Businesses, 25 Million Women Entrepreneurs to the Digital Economy by 2025’.

On the virtual frontlines of the crisis is our City Possible global network, a tribe of civic leaders from across the world dedicated to advancing inclusive and sustainable urban development through collaboration. Since its inception, City Possible has facilitated a community for members to draw on the collective expertise and resources of all stakeholders in order to scale innovative solutions that address urban challenges.

A framework we once considered business as usual that has now proven to be essential. Trusted relationships and strategic investments, quickly turned into critical partnerships and technology to:

  • Activate Partner Networks to Provide Essential Services: Building on our longstanding partnership with Lyft, a City Possible industry member, we expanded access to essential transportation and delivery services to low-income seniors, and families and children while schools are closed. By partnering with companies that share similar values, we can move at speed and scale across communities in need. 
  • Enable Cities with Donation & Disbursements Solutions: Together with Accelerator for America and the LA Mayor’s Fund, we support the Angeleno Campaign in Los Angeles, raising over $10 million in private donations for direct financial assistance to LA residents, to be distributed on Mastercard prepaid debit cards. The campaign is helping low-wage or hourly workers who have been impacted by COVID-19, and prepaid cards ensure that help is available to unbanked, or undocumented residents. The demand for a similar financial-assistance program has already gained traction with over 455,000 applicants from 133 cities around the country, who have started calling us to replicate the model, including the City of Seat Pleasant.
  • Equip Cities with Actionable Insights: Leveraging Mastercard City Insights, we are providing access to data driven insights to city leaders to help them assess the impact, protect families, communities, and businesses that are most at-risk and proactively build a foundation to prepare for recovery. New York City leaders utilize City Insights to estimate the sales tax revenue impact in order to inform budget planning and recovery programs. When NYC transitions to recovery, these insights will help target relief efforts to specific industries and geographies that need the most support.
  • Help Get People Back to Work: Mastercard joined OnwardUS, a new coalition of governors, technology companies and funding partners to shorten the length of unemployment and mitigate the financial burden for those who have been furloughed or laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Launched first in California and Colorado, the platform leverages resources from coalition members to connect displaced workers to employers that are hiring right now, essential life services and resources for retraining and upskilling.
  • Draw on Network Expertise to Build a Roadmap to Recovery: In partnership with the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard University (TECH) and the City Innovators Forum, we regularly convene a global network of government, academic, and industry leaders to share the challenges they face and approaches they are taking to address the crisis in their communities. By collaborating with cities and states to understand their critical challenges, we can equip them with the tools, technology, and resources required to ensure their visitors and residents remain safe.

At City Possible, we express our “essential service”, with a simple statement: #MakeTechWorkForPeople.

Although we are all facing a new set of challenges that will continue to evolve, our north star remains the same: creating inclusive and sustainable communities through collaboration.

Featured Content

Read more about City Possible and the future of cities.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Receive the latest news and best practices shared by city innovators.

Join the

Get access to exclusive tools and content.