Two Mastercard board members whose lives have been touched by cystic fibrosis (CF) are at the heart of this relationship between the company and CFF, encouraging their colleagues to participate in events and grow their support for the organization.
It all began with Tim Berger, Mastercard executive vice president of global tax, and Linda Kirkpatrick, executive vice president of merchants and acceptance.
In 1998, Berger’s two children were diagnosed with CF. Since then, he has been fundraising for a cure. Meanwhile, his son has benefited from medications by enrolling on clinical trials, and his daughter is on the waiting list for a double-lung transplant. Both children, now in their 20s, hope to benefit from new treatments being developed.
Kirkpatrick has supported the foundation since her aunt’s diagnosis at 25. Now 51, her aunt received a double-lung transplant nearly six years ago, “which has allowed her to extend her life,” Kirkpatrick said in a CFF press release.
Since becoming board members, Berger and Kirkpatrick’s involvement with CFF has spurred fellow employees to likewise engage with and embrace the foundation’s mission to ultimately cure CF.
“Mastercard has a very strong commitment to what we call doing well by doing good,” Kirkpatrick said. “It’s in our culture and our DNA to commit ourselves to giving back to the communities in which we serve. This sponsorship is a natural extension of that.”
Beyond sponsorship, Mastercard hosts several CF experts who speak to employees about the disease. The company’s young professionals group, the YoPros, has also teamed up with the foundation’s Tomorrow’s Leaders program to establish programs in support of CFF at Mastercard locations nationwide. The Tomorrow’s Leaders program is designed to offer like-minded young professionals leadership skills and networking opportunities while they support the foundation’s mission.
“What I love about our partnership with the Foundation is it’s not simply a ‘one-and-done’ passive sponsorship. It’s one that engages lots of employees. The connection of our business, our employee base, and the board has made for a very successful collaboration,” Kirkpatrick said.
Besides working toward a cure, CFF aims to give CF patients opportunities to lead full, productive lives by funding research and drug development, promoting individualized treatment, and ensuring access to high-quality, specialized care.
Fundraising is key to CFF’s efforts. For 30 years, Great Strides has been its largest national fundraising event, with walks in more than 400 cities nationwide. Each year, more than 125,000 people participate. To register or volunteer for next year’s 3K Greater New York chapter walk, visit this link.
“When I started fundraising for CF, life expectancy was less than 30 years old and now it is into the 40s,” Kirkpatrick said. “A cure is in our reach, and Mastercard can say that it has been a part of that journey, which is very personal and meaningful to me.”