Mastercard commemorates The World Games by supporting Black-owned small businesses in the Magic City! The initiative will kick off the high-level, diverse, and spectacular sports competition beginning July 7 through 17th.
Birmingham is proud to be one of seven cities participating in Mastercard’s In Solidarity initiative, a 500 million dollar commitment to closing Black Americans’ racial wealth and opportunity gap across America. In partnership with the Birmingham Business Resource Center (BBRC), Mastercard is launching the Birmingham Loyalty Campaign, offering a 20% rebate on qualifying purchases at Black-owned businesses during The World Games! Mastercard made the announcement at a press conference Thursday in Kelly Ingram Park with special guests Mayor Woodfin, Bob Dickerson of the BBRC, and Arian Simone, founder of The Fearless Fund, the first venture capital fund built by women of color. The conference celebrated Mastercard’s commitment to the city while highlighting two local, women-owned, Black-owned businesses, including one that will be featured at the Civil Rights District Marketplace. The five-day festival hosted by the BBRC, and in partnership with Mastercard, will showcase Black-owned businesses, entertainers, interactives, and artisans at Birmingham’s historic Kelly Ingram Park beginning July 8.
The Civil Rights District Marketplace is in collaboration with the World Of Opportunity Vendor Program, a division of The World Games 2022 Birmingham. “Where do I begin. I am so excited that Mastercard has intentionally found a way to support our local minority businesses and their cardholders through the Loyalty Program. In both the Merchant Market and The Civil Rights District Market, a win-win opportunity has been designed for the business and consumer. Not every company will really be as bold or as courageous as they are being to encourage people to buy from Black businesses. It means a lot when you can see that someone believes in you. Mastercard is showing they believe in Black businesses and in Birmingham”, said Kathy Boswell, Executive Vice President of Community and Volunteer Engagement at The World Games 2022 Birmingham.
“As I’ve said before, these businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and they deserve the support of the city they make investments in,” said Mayor Woodfin. “That’s why I’m proud of this genuine partnership with Mastercard. This effort encourages Birmingham residents and visitors to support our Black-owned businesses by shopping local.”
“We have been able to have a 3rd marketplace for The World Games in the Civil Rights District, right here on this hallowed ground! That’s important because, as the mayor talked about, supporting Black-owned businesses means paving a way and opening a door for opportunities,” said Salah Goss with Mastercard. Goss says the marketplace provided a space for businesses who couldn’t get into The World Games marketplace to benefit from the economic windfall.
In addition to the 20% cashback initiative Mastercard has issued, the company partnered with The Fearless Fund to present a check of $10,000 to Bernadine Birdsong, owner of Michael’s Steak and Seafood in Birmingham.
“Over 50% of Black businesses had to close their doors during the pandemic,” said Arian Simone, CEO & Founder of The Fearless Fund. “Now, we are facing the global, macro-economic climate of high-interest rates, inflation at an all-time high, and supply chain issues, where now people of color are being hit again. So, it is an honor to stand here today to present a $10,000 grant to Bernadine Birdsong of Michael’s Steak and Seafood! This is our way of saying we see you, we honor you, and keep going!”
Birdsong accepted the check with tears of joy in her eyes, thanking Mastercard and the Fearless Fund for this opportunity to overcome what Birdsong considers a dark time in the world for the restaurant industry.
To see a list of participating businesses in Mastercard’s Loyalty Program, along with the terms and conditions, please visit: mastercard.com/birmingham.
Birmingham Business Resource Center assists entrepreneurs in every stage of business development. Through an array of technical assistance activities, including one-on-one coaching, the BBRC focuses on helping businesses scale for growth. Services include providing resources to build capacity, attain new customers, and access capital. Emphasis is placed on economic empowerment and supporting historically underserved businesses through diverse supplier opportunities.
Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart, and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships, and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments, and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.