Best Card Solution Winner: World Central Kitchen

Published: Aug 2020


Photo of Erich Broksas, Chief Strategy Officer.

Erich Broksas

Chief Strategy Officer

World Central Kitchen (WCK) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation devoted to using the power of food to heal communities and strengthen economies in times of crisis and beyond. Founded in 2010 by chef and humanitarian José Andrés, the organisation mobilises urgently to get fresh food to people around the world affected by disasters.

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Feeding the world, one card solution at a time

The challenge

Because World Central Kitchen (WCK) team members must travel to the four corners of the globe, often in remote locations, and then quickly pull together critical logistics to begin feeding scores of local citizens, dispersing a high value of funds was proving particularly challenging. WCK’s treasury team recognised the need for an effective commercial card programme that could accommodate disparate purchasing patterns, such as buying food, securing kitchens, as well as procuring meals and safe lodging for chef relief teams. Carrying large amounts of cash around was simply impractical and unsafe. A solution was needed that would allow administrators to make funds available immediately in distant locations, allowing WCK to fulfil its vital mission.

The solution

WCK implemented an innovative, state-of-the-art commercial card programme and treasury administrators are now able to monitor card spending in real-time. In addition, they can see when and where cards are declined and act quickly to resolve issues, so disruption to vital services is minimised.

Meeting the rigours of team members who must travel to distant locations around the world at a moment’s notice, then set up an entire meal distribution system using local resources under the most difficult of conditions, is a challenging task. WCK has used the commercial card programme to disburse funds in the field efficiently and effectively, enabling team members to work quickly in securing resources and speeding meal preparation.

As a result of this innovative approach to funding in the field, treasury and finance administrators are better able to monitor spend, ensuring centralised controls. From a governance and finance perspective, the commercial card solution allows administrators to be extremely vigilant in the use of donor’s dollars in the fulfilment of WCK’s urgent mission.

Best practice and innovation

WCK has implemented a commercial card programme as a best practice in global philanthropy. Through the use of this commercial card programme, treasury is now better equipped to support the broader mission of WCK around social empowerment and climate responsibility. This initiative has been a stellar example of how the treasury function has deployed tools that meet the needs of the organisation, while fundamentally transforming the efficiency of vital emergency relief operations.

The need for the emergency relief work of WCK has been all the more evident during the global outbreak of COVID-19. The commercial card programme has been instrumental in helping the organisation move rapidly to provide meals where needed. For instance, WCK partnered with the Red Cross in Los Angeles County and the Los Angeles Unified School District to begin meal distribution to families. With schools closed, ensuring that families could receive fresh meals was imperative. WCK also distributed thousands of fresh, individually packaged grab-and-go meals to local families in The Bronx, Queens, Harlem, and Brooklyn, New York, as well as New Jersey. These efforts also extended to Yokohama, Japan, where a Chef Relief Team worked with Princess Cruises, the Japanese government, and other partners on the ground to deliver fresh meals to both the crew and guests on board a quarantined ship.

Key benefits

  • Reconciliation improved.
  • Cash eliminated.
  • Improved safety for workers.
  • Risk of fraud and theft mitigated.

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Portrait of Sandra CadavidSandra Cadavid

Sandra Cadavid, Vice President, Treasury Solutions Officer, Bank of America

What we’ve done to support World Central Kitchen is implement an innovative global card solution that reduces risk and automates administration. The card programme enables the treasury team to more effectively manage how funds are spent in the field, supporting the vital work of Chef Relief Teams around the world. World Central Kitchen implemented an innovative, state-of-the-art commercial card programme, where treasury administrators are now able to monitor card spend in real-time. In addition, they can see when and where cards are declined and act quickly to resolve issues so disruption to vital services are minimised. World Central Kitchen achieved:

  • Payment efficiency.
  • Programme scalability and security.
  • Real-time monitoring of spend.

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