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 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 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 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 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?

Challenge Impact Report

Harnessing the Power of Data

Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge Impact Report

These awardees show the range of opportunities that exist to use data to drive social impact for workers, entrepreneurs, and communities.

Download the report


Learnings from the Inclusive Growth and Recovery Challenge

Ginger Zielinksie, former 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.

Learn more

Challenge Judges

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

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.

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Mike Froman serves as vice chairman and president, Strategic Growth for Mastercard. In that role he is responsible for growing strategic partnerships, scaling new business opportunities, and advancing the company’s efforts to partner with governments and other institutions to address major societal and economic issues. He and his team drive financial inclusion and inclusive growth efforts and work to develop new businesses key to the company’s strategic growth.

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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, Digital Health

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Himanshu Nagpal leads The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation‘s efforts towards utilizing digital infrastructure and digital tools to eradicate malaria. Prior to joining the global health team in 2020, Himanshu was the deputy director, Financial Services for the Poor (FSP), manages the financial inclusion work in India, and leads the team…

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Enrica Porcari

Chief Information Officer and Director of Technology

World Food Programme (WFP)

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

Former Data Science Fellow

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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Cassie is Senior Head of the UK Portfolio for the National Lottery Community Fund, a Co-founder of the Point People, and a Fellow at The Institute of Innovation and Public Purpose at UCL. Previously she was Strategic Design Director at Doteveryone, has worked in the Cabinet Office at Government Digital Service, and is the Founder of…

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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 a billion people worldwide, and enable meaningful economic mobility in the United States and around the world.

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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 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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