Mastercard Foundation ends Michigan State work over Nassar
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Citing “lost confidence,” the Mastercard Foundation announced Thursday it will stop supporting programs with Michigan State University as the school deals with fallout from a former sports doctor convicted of molesting athletes.
One $45 million program funds the education of students from sub-Saharan Africa. Another $13 million collaborative effort helps young people access agricultural jobs in Tanzania and Nigeria.
The Toronto-based foundation said in a release that it will honor current commitments, but plans to terminate the partnership.
“The Mastercard Foundation is dedicated to providing a safe environment for young people who participate in our programs,” the statement said. “Due to extensive media reporting about issues involving Michigan State University, the foundation has lost confidence in our partnership with the university.”
The foundation works to help young people in Africa lift themselves and their communities out of poverty. The foundation said it works with 27 educational partners in the scholars program.
University officials said they have notified all affected students and others, and are focused on supporting those students through graduation.
Former sports doctor Larry Nassar is currently serving decades in prison after pleading guilty to molesting patients and possessing child pornography. Nassar worked at Michigan State and also treated top Olympians for USA Gymnastics.
In January, one of Michigan State’s corporate sponsors chose not to have its logo behind basketball and football coaches during news conferences. Auto-Owners Insurance spokesman Trevor Mahoney told The Associated Press at the time that the company did not deem it appropriate to showcase advertising “during discussions of serious topics that have impacted the lives of many.”