Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge


Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge

In early 2020, we launched the $10 million Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge as part of our commitment to building the field of data science for social impact.


With support from the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and The Rockefeller Foundation, the Challenge called for breakthrough ideas that harness the power of data science to help people and communities thrive, especially in the wake of COVID-19’s health and economic impact. In early 2021, we awarded $10 million in funding and technical assistance to eight exemplary awardees from a pool of over 1,200 applications. The Paul Ramsay Foundation, focused on philanthropy in Australia, funded a ninth award.

Areas of Focus

The Challenge invited proposals in the focus areas named below, but also welcomed submissions for using data science to advance shared prosperity, and help ensure inclusive recovery.

Leave no worker behind

Low wage workers are among the most vulnerable in today’s economy. In times of economic stress, current trends toward automation and job displacement could accelerate. How can we use data science to help workers remain secure in precarious times? Can data insights predict trends in the labor market and connect and prepare workers for the jobs of tomorrow?


Learnings from the Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge

Ginger Zielinksie, Chief Strategy Officer at, led a discussion on key findings & learnings that came out of the Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge Report and features perspectives of both Challenge creation and participation.

Challenge Judges

To garner critical feedback on recommended awardees for the Challenge, we gathered 12 prominent leaders in the fields of data science and social impact to serve as Expert Judges.

Olubayo (Bayo) Adekanmbi combines 19 years of cognate industry experience in Strategy, Marketing, Analytics and Business Transformation from the two largest economies in Africa (Nigeria and South Africa).  He is a C-level executive at MTN Nigeria, Africa’s largest telecommunication company, where he has also been awarded the distinguished award for…

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Raj Chetty

William A. Ackman Professor of Economics/ Director of Opportunity Insights

Harvard University

Raj Chetty is the William A. Ackman Professor of Economics at Harvard University. He is also the Director of Opportunity Insights (formerly the Equality of Opportunity Project), which uses “big data” to understand how we can give children from disadvantaged backgrounds better chances of succeeding. Chetty’s research combines empirical evidence and…

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PantheaLee is the co-founder and Executive Director of Reboot. She is a pioneer in designing and guiding multi-stakeholder processes to address complex social challenges, with experience doing so in 30+ countries, with partners including CIVICUS, Wikimedia Foundation, Open Government Partnership, MacArthur Foundation, and governments at the national, state, and local…

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Himanshu Nagpal

Deputy Director, Financial Services for the Poor

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Himanshu Nagpal, deputy director, Financial Services for the Poor (FSP), manages the financial inclusion work in India, and leads the team focused on driving usage of digital financial services by the poor and utilizing emerging technologies for driving financial inclusion. In addition, Himanshu also leads the foundation’s work on digital…

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Enrica Porcari

Chief Information Officer and Director of Technology

World Food Programme

Enrica Porcari is the UN World Food Programme’s Chief Information Officer and Director of Technology. She was also instrumental in creating WFP’s Fast IT and Telecommunications Emergency and Support Team (FITTEST) to support global humanitarian operations. Enrica is advancing WFP’s efforts to lead a digital approach for global humanitarian operations,…

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Jake Porway loves seeing the good values in bad data. As a frustrated corporate data scientist, Porway co-founded DataKind, a nonprofit that harnesses the power of Data Science and AI in the service of humanity by providing pro bono data science services to mission-driven organizations.

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David Sangokoya

Project Lead, Society and Innovation

World Economic Forum

David Sangokoya is the Project Lead, Society and Innovation at the World Economic Forum in Geneva. He leads multi-stakeholder initiatives at the Forum related to driving stakeholder responsibility for social justice in technology, data and global public goods, including the Forum’s initiative on Partnering with Civil Society in the Fourth…

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Dr. Shah serves as President of the Rockefeller Foundation, a global institution with a mission to promote the well-being of humanity around the world.  The Foundation applies data, science, and innovation to improve health for women and children, create nutritious and sustainable food systems, end energy poverty for more than…

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Vera Songwe

United Nations Undersecretary General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

Vera Songwe is the UN Under-Secretary-General and 9th Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), becoming the first woman to lead the institution in its 60-year history.  As Executive Secretary, Songwe’s reforms, focusing on “ideas for a prosperous Africa”, have brought to the fore critical issues of macroeconomic…

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Drew Zachary

Managing Director

Census Open Innovation Labs

Drew Zachary is Managing Director of Census Open Innovation Labs and Director/Co-founder of The Opportunity Project at the US Census Bureau.  Previously, Drew was a Policy Advisor at the White House Domestic Policy Council and senior analyst at the US Department of Commerce’s Commerce Data Service. Throughout her career, Drew…

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