Birmingham is one of seven cities in the U.S. where Mastercard is focusing a $500 million initiative to narrow the divide in opportunity and wealth to Black communities.
The five-year initiative mapped out by the company Thursday includes products, services, technology and financial support for Blacks and Black-owned businesses.
Birmingham, along with Atlanta, Dayton, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City and St. Louis, will receive support through partnerships, technology and data.
Mastercard did not give many details on Birmingham specifically, though it mentioned outreaches in other cities. In Atlanta, the company’s efforts include working with the city’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to provide rent relief to avoid evictions. The program has already distributed $36 million to Los Angeles residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and helped 24,000 residents of New York City through community organizations.
All seven cities will be seeing digital services offered through Black-owned fintech company MoCaFi, providing financial product access to Black families that may have previously relied on payday lending. Mastercard also committed to expanding work with Black-owned businesses and Black-owned startups.
Mayor Randall Woodfin said the city’s partnership would allow Birmingham to achieve the goal of becoming a Southern hub for minority-owned businesses.
“Black business owners who are looking to reach the next level, or those attempting to rebound following setbacks from the COVID-19 global pandemic, now will be able to find solid financial footing,” Woodfin said in a statement. “This goes a long way in creating a more even playing field for all our residents.”