The MasterCard Foundation and EARTH University Partner to Create $19.5 Million Scholarship Program

120 young leaders will benefit from educational opportunities in sustainable development

TORONTO (CANADA) & GUACIMO (COSTA RICA); April 23, 2012—The MasterCard Foundation and EARTH University announced today a seven-year, USD 19.5 million partnership to provide educational opportunities to young people from disadvantaged communities in Africa, Latin America and The Caribbean. The partnership will offer comprehensive scholarships to 120 students at EARTH University – an international, non-profit university in Costa Rica with an innovative four-year program in sustainable agriculture, natural resource management and community development.

“This scholarship program offers young people the opportunity to be part of EARTH’s extraordinary learning environment,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “They will become leaders who will make significant contributions to agricultural and economic initiatives in their countries.”

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars will be engaged in a culture of philanthropy and volunteerism, encouraging them to transition from being beneficiaries to benefactors and active contributors in their communities. The program also integrates complementary supports such as mentoring, career counseling, service learning opportunities and internships. Following successful completion of EARTH University’s four-year program, the Scholars will return to their countries to be part of a cohort of new leaders committed to transforming the agricultural sector and contributing to sustainable livelihoods. The partnership is part of The MasterCard Foundation’s Youth Learning Program, which works with institutions like EARTH University to enable young people in developing countries – particularly Sub-Saharan Africa – to make successful transitions to the workforce and actively engage with their communities.

“Since our inception we have been committed to giving educational opportunities to young people who want to make a difference, but lack the financial resources for a higher education. To this end, 60 percent of our students receive full scholarships. We could not achieve this, particularly given the tough global economic conditions, without committed partners like The MasterCard Foundation, and hope the alliance inspires others to join our effort to change the world through education,” remarked EARTH University President, José Zaglul.