For Alumni of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UC Berkeley

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Alumni Impact Fund

All UC Berkeley Mastercard Foundation Alumni Scholars are invited to apply to the Mastercard Foundation Alumni Scholars Impact Fund (“Impact Fund”), powered by Big Ideas and the UC Berkeley Center for African Studies

Echoing the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy and prior experience supporting Scholars transformative leadership and entrepreneurial activites, the UC Berkeley Scholars Program Alumni Impact Fund supports projects anchored in African countries that focus on creating economic opportunities for both alumni of the UC Berkeley Scholars Program and members of their communities. The Fund encourages alumni to engage in capacity strengthening and job-creating projects at African organizations and institutions through entrepreneurial endeavors. The Fund will support between 5 to 10 Alumni Impact Awards per year, distributing $75,000 US dollars annually through a competitive process in collaboration with Big Ideas. To apply, review the eligibility and rules below and complete and submit this form by December 6, 2023: (start your pre-proposal Applications here). This will be a multi-round process with two layers of review and a final pitch competition,

Following the pre-proposal review period, up to six Impact Fund applicants will be invited to participate in the full-proposal round, where they will have the opportunity to develop 8-page applications (aka “Implementation Plans”), and 2 minute elevator pitch videos by the final round deadline on April 8, 2024. During the full proposal period students/teams will be paired with a Big Ideas professional mentor, matched to the team based on expertise and background. Up to five Impact Fund teams will be selected to receive awards of $5,000 with the top 2 teams invited to pitch (virtually) for the Mastercard Foundation Alumni Scholars Impact Fund Grand Prize Award of up to $25,000 in May 2024.

Detailed timeline below.

Eligibility and Rules

  • The venture must be led and managed by a UC Berkeley Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program alum, i.e., the Team Lead.
  • The Team Lead must be physically present in the African continent at the time of fund disbursement. Preference will be given to Alumni Scholars who have been residing in Africa for at least a year. Graduating Scholars in the current academic year who are committed to returning to Africa upon graduation from UC Berkeley are also eligible to apply.
  • The business, invention or social project must be early-stage startups or ideas.
  • The business, invention or social project can be in any field or industry (science and technology, civil society, arts and culture, sports, etc.).
  • The Team Lead will be the main contact person for all communications. The Team Lead has final authority in determining fund disbursement options.
  • Decisions of the judges are final and not subject to appeal.
  • Recipients of the award must commit to providing information (e.g., pictures, videos, reports) and data to the Scholars Program and Big Ideas.
  • Recipient(s) of the award must be willing to attend potential future Mastercard Foundation organized events.

Timeline for 2022/2023 Awards

  • September 20, 2023 (8 am PST):  Information Session
  • September 20, 2023: Pre-proposal Applications Period Opens and can apply here
  • December 6, 2023: Pre-proposal Application Deadline
  • December-January 2024: Pre-proposal Review Period
  • February 20, 2024: Full Proposal Application Period and Mentorship Process Begins
  • April 8, 2024: Full Proposal Application Deadline
  • April 2024: Full Proposal Review Period
  • May 8, 2024: Mastercard Foundation Alumni Scholars Impact Fund Grand Prize Pitch Day and Awards Celebration
  • June-July 2024: Awards Disbursed

We will announce the 2024/2025 Award timeline between September and October 2024.

Previous Alumni Impact Fund Recipients

The Africa Growth Fund

The Mastercard Foundation has partnered with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), I&P (Investisseurs & Partenaires), and ESP (Entrepreneurial Solutions Partners) on the Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund. The Foundation designed this $200 million USD impact investing Fund-of-Funds initiative to support substantial long-term economic growth and to close the financing and support gap in the impact investing space in Africa to enable dignified and fulling work opportunities for youth, particularly young women.

Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program logo: Red and yellow circles overlapping side by side with text underneath.