CORE and Mastercard Partner to Provide Cash Assistance Program for Ukrainian Refugees

Crisis response nonprofit CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) has launched a Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Cash Assistance Program in partnership with Mastercard, EML, the Stichting Giustra International Foundation, Tommy Humphreys and the Parker Foundation. The program will provide digital cash assistance directly to Ukrainian refugees, empowering families to choose how to cover basic needs and safely relocate on their own terms.  

With nearly 5 million people displaced, humanitarian aid is urgently needed, and CORE and Mastercard have combined resources to develop a flexible cash assistance program in the form of prepaid cash cards. During the early pilot period of the program, beginning today, 2,500 cards pre-loaded with €150 are being distributed to refugees fleeing Ukraine to Poland and other bordering countries. These funds will allow families to purchase essential supplies and obtain shelter during the 72-hour period typically spent in the region. After the initial pilot, CORE and its partners will provide thousands more pre-paid cards to continue supporting refugees as this crisis unfolds. 

“After lives have been upended so abruptly and violently, we want to give agency to Ukrainian families to make the best choices for themselves as they navigate this humanitarian crisis,” said CORE Co-founder and CEO Ann Lee. “We are humbled and grateful for the support of our incredible partners Mastercard, EML and the Stichting Giustra International Foundation, for making this cash assistance program a reality. CORE is fully committed to supporting the needs of Ukraine refugees as this crisis continues to unfold and we will continue to work alongside local partners on the ground in Poland and other bordering countries to address immediate needs.”

“As the humanitarian emergency in the Ukraine continues to unfold, we are partnering with CORE and EML to quickly mobilize this prepaid card relief programme, which will disperse funding and humanitarian aid directly into the hand of refugees,” said Solveig Hatton, SVP of Government Engagement, Mastercard Europe said. “By delivering aid in the form of money on a card, we can provide payment security and flexibility to those most in need.”

Easily transportable and refillable, the cards are an important source of crucial aid that provides flexibility for the beneficiaries. General demographic information gleaned through the Cash Assistance Program will help identify migration trends, allowing CORE and Mastercard to anticipate future needs and adapt quickly. Funding for the program was made possible through an initial investment from the Stichting Giustra International Foundation.

”EML is working with the CORE, its founders Sean Penn and Ann Lee, corporate supporter Frank Giustra, and Mastercard to urgently help to financially empower communities through and beyond the crisis in Ukraine. We are passionate about ensuring that people who have had to flee disasters worldwide can rapidly access emergency funds in their time of need,” said David Curneen, Group COO at EML.

“The unprovoked Russian invasion of its neighbor has created a humanitarian disaster on a scale that we have not seen in Europe since World War II,” said Frank Giustra, Chair of the Stichting Giustra International Foundation. “Under these conditions, it is imperative to move quickly to help those suffering the most. This project promises to put money in the hands of those who need it most, and to enable them to make decisions about what they need for themselves. We are calling on communities worldwide with an ask to make a donation to match ours, so that we can ensure as many people as possible receive the support they need.” 

In addition to the cash assistance program, CORE is also working with international and local partners to provide emergency relief supplies, such as hygiene kits and thermal blankets, as well as supporting community-based refugee centers in Poland and Romania as the influx of individuals fleeing continues to increase. To donate and learn more about CORE’s work, please visit

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