Aspen Institute and Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth Convene Purpose-Driven Leaders for Global Inclusive Recovery and Rebuilding Series

October 16, 2020

Four public conversations will examine solutions to restructure and reimagine economic systems in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

Contact: Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Manager
The Aspen Institute

Washington, DC, October 16, 2020–The Global Inclusive Growth Partnership (GIGP), a joint collaboration between the Aspen Institute and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, today announced a series of four public conversations this fall to explore how we can advance inclusive economic growth in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and as part of a long-term strategy to recover and rebuild. The first panel discussion airs on Monday, October 19, and will focus on scaling up lending to entrepreneurs of color, a group disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Showcasing leading experts and policymakers in their fields, the Global Inclusive Recovery and Rebuilding Series will explore different yet interconnected topics, drawing on the perspectives of multiple programs and leadership networks at the Aspen Institute. Issues to be addressed include lending for entrepreneurs of color; benefits for workers and the connection between benefits and financial security; the role of global health organizations in the effort to develop and distribute COVID-19 vaccines as a means for economic recovery; and a look at capital management and how fiduciaries are and are not acting on behalf of beneficiaries in the interest of inclusion.

A key objective of the series is to identify the economic inequality that was in place before COVID-19 and address how they have been exacerbated this year. Speakers will explore how turbulence in financial and social systems today represents an opportunity to rethink the policies of the past and challenge the narrative of a strong pre-pandemic economy. While the United States had been in the longest period of economic growth in history, most of the wealth generated was concentrated within top income earners with severe consequences for median and low-income workers. Wages have been stagnant for years and only 28 percent of Americans are considered financially healthy.

Events in the series will air on the following link, alongside additional information and speaker updates:

More information about each event, and the air date, is available below:

Monday, October 19, 11:00am ET: Scaling Lending for Entrepreneurs of Color

Infrastructure for lending has long been exclusionary and insufficient. As a result, entrepreneurs of color often lack access to needed capital to grow and sustain their businesses. The COVID-19 crisis has made an already difficult situation dire for many small business owners. How can we help entrepreneurs of color on the path to recovery? What is the role of community development financial institutions (CDFIs) as lenders, and what can we do to overcome some of the obstacles these organizations face?

  • Michael Barr, Joan and Sanford Weill Dean, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
  • Marla Blow, Senior Vice President, Social Impact, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
  • Tim Ogden, Financial Access Initiative, Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University
  • Francisco Lopez, Vice President of Business Innovation and Partnerships, Dreamspring
  • Moderating: Joyce Klein, Director, Business Ownership Initiative (BOI), Aspen Institute

Thursday, October 22, 11am ET: Modernizing Worker Benefits for the 21st Century

Public and private benefits are crucial to a worker’s financial security, but the design and delivery of these benefits disproportionately exclude low-wage workers, workers of color, and workers in non-traditional work arrangements. How can we refresh and modernize these systems to the benefit of all workers and their families? Would a new, integrated system of benefits guided by four key principles – people-centric, inclusive, portable and interoperable – be the pathway to an inclusive recovery and long-term prosperity for all workers in America? This event will introduce the work of the Benefits21 initiative and the holistic approach to financial security and economic mobility being undertaken by the Global Inclusive Growth Partnership.

  • Opening conversation with Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Alastair Fitzpayne, Executive Director of the Future of Work Initiative. Benefits21 presentation by Sarika Abbi, Associate Director, Financial Security Program.

Panel discussion:

  • William Spriggs, Professor and Former Chair of the Department of Economics, Howard University and Chief Economist, AFL-CIO
  • Trent Bigelow, CEO & Co-Founder, Track
  • Molly Hemstreet, Executive Co-Directors, The Industrial Commons
  • Parag Mehta, Executive Director and Senior Vice President, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
  • Moderating: Joanna Smith-Ramani, Managing Director, Financial Security Program, Aspen Institute

Wednesday, October 28, 1:00pm ET: Ensuring the Equitable and Effective Global Distribution of Vaccines – Live Discussion

An inclusive global economic recovery in the wake of a pandemic can’t happen without a public health policy approach to vaccine development and distribution. How do we get vaccines across multiple populations in as equitable a way as possible? And how do we not only reach groups left out of both public health and economic infrastructures, but reassure those groups that a vaccine is necessary and safe?

  • Mike Froman, Vice Chairman and President, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
  • Anita Zaidi, Director, Vaccine Development, Surveillance, and Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases Programs, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Kathleen Sebelius, Former US Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Marie-Ange Sarakayao, Managing Director, Resource Mobilisation, Private Sector Partnerships and Innovative Finance, GAVI

Thursday, November 19, 10am ET: Inclusive Investing: Are Fiduciaries Really Acting on Behalf of Beneficiaries? – Live Discussion

Investors across the world are starting to focus on diversity and inclusion when evaluating corporate boards, who manages their money, and in the leadership of the portfolio companies in which they’re investing. Yet diversity initiatives still face many headwinds. How can we create a culture in which asset managers and fiduciaries proactively seek investing opportunities that herald diversity? What is the responsibility of fiduciaries to take into account the interests of their populations? Members and associates of the Aspen Finance Leaders Fellowship bring their unique perspectives to the table.

  • Rodrigo Garcia, Deputy State Treasurer Chief Investment Officer, Illinois State Treasury and Finance Leaders Fellow
  • Lisa Shalett, Chief Investment Officer, Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley
  • Erika Seth Davies, Fellow, Fair Finance, Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation, Georgetown University
  • Moderating: Ranji Nagaswami, Senior Advisor, SVP Global and Henry Crown Fellow

The Global Inclusive Growth Partnership was announced at the Global Inclusive Growth Summit in October 2019 with the recognition that, even in a period of economic strength, growing inequality was a crisis that necessitated urgent action. Since then, the impact of COVID-19 has led many more Americans to rely on benefits to meet basic needs, making these systems a cornerstone of a fair society and a key element of GIGP’s mission to build a more inclusive and resilient economy for all. The structure enables the Aspen Institute and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth to leverage a full range of policy experts, leadership networks, and grassroots connections to achieve a common goal.


About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

About the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth

The Center for Inclusive Growth is the philanthropic and thought leadership arm of Mastercard. It serves to advance equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. In pursuit of this mission, the Center leverages Mastercard’s core assets and competencies – including data insights, expertise and technology, while administering the Mastercard Impact Fund – a pool of philanthropic capital – to produce independent research, scale global programs and empower a community of thinkers, leaders and doers on the front lines of inclusive growth. For more information and to receive its latest insights, follow the Center on Twitter @CNTR4growth and subscribe to its newsletter.

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