MetLife Foundation makes grants to partners with the ability to reach large numbers of underserved households around the world, increasing their readiness, willingness and ability to engage with the financial sector.
Recent initiatives in this area include:
The International Rescue Committee
United States (Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California)
Refugees and immigrants to the United States face a distinct set of obstacles to financial inclusion. Many arrive with little savings, limited English-language proficiency, unfamiliarity with the US financial system, and, often, a distrust of banks. MetLife Foundation’s support to the International Rescue Committee will fund intensive coaching and hands-on assistance.
Founded in 1933, International Rescue Committee, or IRC, is one of the best known and most respected international organizations working to help refugees and recent immigrants adapt to their new countries. IRC’s outreach to this population has long included economic issues and now, with support from MetLife Foundation, IRC will expand those efforts in creative new directions, moving beyond classroom-based financial education to more intensive one-on-one financial counseling and advocacy. IRC staff will work directly with clients to set personal financial goals. They will accompany clients on visits to evaluate local financial institutions, and help to open accounts. They will also work with clients to establish household budgets, pay bills, dispute erroneous collections, and understand their credit history. With MetLife Foundation support, IRC is also developing a potentially groundbreaking Neighborhood Financial Services Map to analyze the local financial services landscape in its two initial markets (Phoenix and San Diego). IRC clients rate local financial services providers on a number of criteria, including the costs and terms of financial products, language ability, hours of operation, and customer service, among others. This information is aggregated, analyzed, and updated by IRC staff and used to develop the Neighborhood Financial Services Map. The map will not only benefit present and future IRC clients, but will also help IRC manage relationships with local financial services providers and will ultimately enable a city-by-city comparison of best practices.
Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS)
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Japan, Mexico, United States
Girls, particularly low-income girls, continue to be underserved with the knowledge, skills, and confidence-building experiences that will lay a stable foundation for financial capability in adulthood. With 10 million members in 145 countries, and a reputation for excellence dating back to 1912, Girl Scouts/Girl Guides was an ideal partner for MetLife Foundation to reach this critical audience for financial inclusion.
With support from MetLife Foundation, Girl Scout/Girl Guide groups in seven countries refined and updated Financial Empowerment curriculum, adapting it for cultural relevance and age-appropriate orientation. Younger girls learn the basics of money and how to be a Money Manager, Business Owner, Savvy Shopper. Older girls learn about Buying Power, Maintaining Good Credit, Budgeting, Comparison Shopping, Financing Their Dreams, and Living Financially Independently. Girls who complete the curriculum can earn their Financial Empowerment badges subject to locally determined eligibility criteria.
Because so many MetLife associates have a personal connection to Girl Scouts/Girl Guides, the partnership includes opportunities for members of local troops to connect with MetLife’s Women’s Business Network members during “Service Events.” The girls travel to the MetLife office in their community to meet with 25-30 WBN associates to see first-hand how women can excel in the workplace. Participants discuss financial topics of particular relevance to girls and women, reviewing important information while forging new friendships and having fun.
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
LISC and its partners are committed to helping low-income individuals and families become financially stable as measured by positive monthly cash-flow, long-term job retention, quality credit scores, and positive net worth. MetLife Foundation’s support is enabling LISC to expand and enhance operations of its Financial Opportunity Center network, which empowers low-income individuals to take control of their financial futures.
LISC helps local nonprofit community groups across the United States transform distressed neighborhoods into healthy and sustainable places to work, do business and raise children. Through a growing network of local Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs), LISC and its partners are helping low-income individuals and families become financially stable as measured by positive monthly cash-flow, long-term job retention, quality credit scores, and positive net worth.
FOC support enables clients to boost earnings, build credit, reduce expenses and make appropriate financial decisions. Clients receive integrated services across three critical and interconnected areas: 1) employment placement, job retention and skill improvement; 2) financial coaching and education; and 3) access to income supports. These services are delivered simultaneously and are mutually reinforcing. FOC clients also have access to an innovative financial product that helps them repair or build credit while beginning to save. MetLife Foundation support is helping LISC expand and evaluate these centers, their services and the results for families.
Junior Achievement Worldwide
Egypt, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Korea
Launching and expanding initiatives that promote entrepreneurship and build financial skills among low-income youth. Support from MetLife Foundation enhances local programs reaching youth with the tips and tools they need to succeed.
In 2013, JA Worldwide and MetLife Foundation partnered to launch the MetLife Foundation Older Youth Development Project. With the current global youth unemployment rates at a historical high, the project aims to serve economically disadvantaged youth in five countries through programs designed to facilitate access to economic opportunities.
The program addresses skills development and youth employment, two primary challenges in each of the five implementation markets - Egypt, Mexico, Poland Russia and South Korea. The project is focused on unique challenges specific to each country and customized programming to equip youth aged 14 to 23 years with workforce, financial, and entrepreneurial skills. The project infuses greater resources, innovative approaches, and digital technologies with learning while building upon existing and effective JA programs.
Egypt – Jumpstarting Entrepreneurship
The `Start Up’ program provides select student companies, created through the JA Company Program, with the chance to establish real business entities and operate them into profitability through seed funding and mentoring.
Mexico – Scaling Entrepreneurship Education
`The Power of Entrepreneurship Project’ delivered entrepreneurship education to students aged 16 to 18 years in highly marginalized zones in and around Mexico City. Participating students enter into a year-long program in partnership with JA and the Ministry of Education. At its conclusion, the most qualified students will be selected for business incubation.
Poland – Enhancing entrepreneurship training and education
‘The Entrepreneurial School’ aims to increase secondary school teachers’ access to entrepreneurial tools and teaching methods through a virtual guide and assist them in incorporating entrepreneurial learning into existing school curricula.
Russia – Developing 21st Century Skills
‘The Entrepreneurial Skills Pass’ aims to improve student’s entrepreneurial competency through entrepreneurship education, and 21st century skills development in order to boost students’ employability.
South Korea – Increasing Opportunities for Teenage Mothers
The ‘Hope for Young Mom’s Project’ provides entrepreneurship education to teenage mothers who first gain an understanding of financial literacy skills and concepts and then will build companies culminating in the possibility of continued support through seed funding and mentoring.