How Prepaid Technologies Supported LA Citizens through the Pandemic

During a period of dire financial need, Prepaid Technologies was a trusted technology partner in setting up and administering a card payment disbursement system to distribute nearly $40 million in funds to more than 35,000 individuals and families.

The economic impact of COVID-19 has echoed around the world. The actions we’re taking to bring the pandemic under control—vaccinations and federal government support—are both global and national, but the real difference is being made on the ground, in local communities.

Los Angeles has been one of the best examples of local government, private companies, public organizations, and citizens working together to get money where it’s most needed. In 2020, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti launched the Angeleno Card program to get direct financial support to the families suffering most from the pandemic. 

The Mayor’s Fund of Los Angeles Is Improving Life for Angelenos

The Angeleno Card program is part of The Mayor’s Fund: “The Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving life for all Angelenos. Bringing together institutions and experts from across the City, the Fund supports programs to create transformative change across Los Angeles, making it a world leader in economic prosperity, government efficiency, community resiliency, and quality of life for all of its residents.”

The combination of The Mayor’s Fund and the Angeleno Card program have been impressive and heartwarming:

  • Upwards of 10,000 Angelenos donated generously to the program to help their fellow citizens.
  • The program has served over 100,000 people and families.
  • The Mayor’s Program has raised over $55 million in funds to help those in need.
  • More than 35,000 cards have been used to disburse over $37 million in funds to date.
  • Project Safe Haven has provided safe shelter for more than 400 Angeleno families at risk of domestic violence.
  • The initiative has also provided childcare so health support workers can get onto the frontline and help their citizens.
  • It has also funded more than 700,000 meals for seniors.

“When COVID-19 reached our shores, Los Angeles stepped up to the plate with innovative and courageous solutions to save lives and livelihoods — and we strengthened our government’s actions by tapping into the generosity of our neighbors, our philanthropic partners, our public and private sector.” Mayor Garcetti—Mayor’s Fund For Los Angeles’ COVID Response Raises $56 Million To Serve More Than 105,000 Angelenos 

The Angeleono Card Program Needed Significant Expertise, Support, and Infrastructure

Initiatives of this size need to run quickly, smoothly, and with a minimum of hassle. That’s why the Mayor’s Office took on trusted partners like Oracle, Mastercard, and Prepaid Technologies to ensure the rapid collection, processing, and distribution of funds to those in need.

We’re pleased with the role we’ve been able to play. We supported the initiative with our robust administrative platform and provided the perfect vehicle for delivering funds to those in need. Our prepaid disbursement card solution created The Angeleno Card. In doing so we also:

  • Setup the administrative systems and products to manage disbursements from The Mayor’s Fund.
  • Work closely with Mastercard to allow for the quick collection and distribution of funds.
  • Partnered with Mastercard on the “Angeleno Card” initiative.
  • Sent out prepaid cards to those in most need, and provided cash top-up facilities if more money was required.
  • Provided customer service and support for the Mayor’s Fund, community organizations, and cardholders.
  • The entire solution was implemented in two weeks.

“The Angeleno Card initiative distributed $36,761,979 to help 104,156 Los Angeles residents. Angeleno Cards provide direct financial assistance via no-fee debit cards powered by Mastercard’s City Possible network to people whose livelihoods were hardest-hit by the pandemic, including low-wage hourly workers who had jobs in homes and restaurants, seasonal workers, day laborers, street vendors, and self-employed individuals. 

Angeleno Cards also serve residents regardless of immigration status — immigrant communities have been some of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, yet they have been too often excluded 

from federal assistance.” —Mayor’s Fund For Los Angeles’ COVID Response Raises $56 Million To Serve More Than 105,000 Angelenos 

Oracle also played a critical role with deep integration in the Mayor’s Fund initiative. They worked together with Mastercard and ourselves to help collect recipient information including prequalification, identity verification, case management, and digital payment. This ensured the optimal use of funds, and getting them to those most in need quickly and conveniently.

Digging Deeper into the Los Angeles Mayor’s Fund Decisions

It’s worth exploring how this initiative came about. In November 2020, Oracle held a webinar and published a paper: Helping Governments Deploy Emergency Aid that used the LA example as a case study. Here are some of the findings.

According to speaker Mary Hodge, Deputy Chief of Staff to LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, “Governments everywhere have struggled to continue providing services to low-income residents who have lost their jobs as a result of shutdowns or the economic downturn.” 

She continues, “The situation was especially dire in Los Angeles, where by mid-April only 45 percent of county residents still had jobs. Local government leaders knew they needed to get money into the hands of people whose livelihoods had been affected by the stalled economy, and they knew they needed to act fast.”

Mastercard has been delighted with the program too. Jody Barnett, VP of the Mastercard City Possible Network said:

  • “The City of Los Angeles wanted to increase the speed of fundraising and distribution of aid to its most vulnerable citizens impacted by the global pandemic.
  • Together with Accelerator for America and the LA Mayor’s Fund, we assisted the Angeleno Campaign in Los Angeles, which originally aimed to raise over $15 million, but raised $36 million in private donations for direct financial assistance to LA residents, to be distributed on Mastercard prepaid debit cards.
  • The Mastercard prepaid solution provided a flexible way for recipients to spend the funds.”

This all bodes well for similar projects in future. Partnerships like those between Prepaid Technologies, Mastercard, and major city initiatives show that we can integrate to provide extremely rapid and problem-free collection and distribution of funds in times of great need.