Here are some numbers to think about: unemployment in the U.S. remains at 8.3% and isn't budging. One in three small businesses say they can't get the financing they need to grow their business. And when small businesses, which employ more than half of all private sector workers, don't grow, Americans don't work.
My name is Patricia Devereux and I head up Corporate Philanthropy and Citizenship at MasterCard. I think about these statistics every day. You see, our mission is to help people become part of the financial mainstream through the power of entrepreneurship. Through partnerships with other socially-minded businesses and organizations and cashless technology, we give people the tools, skills, and resources to build a stronger future for themselves, their families, and their communities. The goal is to spur innovation, employment, and economic growth.
I first heard about Create Jobs for USA late in 2011 while getting a coffee at my local Starbucks, which had teamed up with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) to create the program. It's a powerful model that helps businesses, from charter schools to grocery stores, small retail shops to community health centers, get financing that can spell the difference between cutting jobs and keeping them, growth or status quo. Given MasterCard's commitment to community businesses, Create Jobs for USA was something that I knew MasterCard had to become a part of.
We formally announced our partnership in September 2012. OFN's network of more than 200 community development finance institutions (or CDFIs) issues loans to people who need help starting and growing businesses, which creates jobs and improves the communities in which they live. And the rate at which the CDFI loans are repaid is nearly 100%; even more important, communities are benefiting from an increase in local investments and an increase in jobs.
MasterCard is proud to work with OFN and support Create Jobs for USA. And you can help too--give to Create Jobs for USA on the JobRaising Challenge and help put people back to work.
Patricia Devereux is Group Head, Corporate Philanthropy and Citizenship for MasterCard Worldwide. In this role, she manages and directs the company's corporate philanthropy group which includes developing and implementing the company's philanthropy strategy globally, and overseeing strategic partnerships with various global and national charitable organizations, employee volunteerism, matching gift programs and disaster relief efforts. Ms. Devereux is also the MasterCard staff liaison to the MasterCard Foundation working with the Foundation's board and staff to support a long-term, collaborative relationship between the two organizations.