COVID-19 Global Response

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COVID-19 Global Response

A family from the state of Bihar in India receiving cash transfer using biometric technology.


As the world navigated the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on every aspect of daily life, MetLife Foundation MetLife committed $25 million globally to pandemic relief and recovery by supporting nonprofit partners as they pivoted quickly. Initial grants supported communities and people with urgent needs for food, healthcare, and direct financial support. MetLife Foundation stood by its existing partners on the frontlines of helping low-income people and small businesses build financial health, helping them respond quickly to emerging needs.

“Supporting and protecting people is at the core of who we are and what MetLife stands for–in our business and in the Foundation’s giving,” said MetLife President and CEO Michel Khalaf. “MetLife Foundation is directing its resources to those most impacted by coronavirus. The communities where we work and live have never needed our support more, and we’re going to do everything we can to help.”

United States

MetLife Foundation and MetLife employees donated more than $8 million, $2.6 million of which supported U.S. food banks to help address increased demand for services as a result of COVID-19.

In New York City, the Foundation provided nearly $2.3 million in grants to organizations including Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, Breaking Ground, Children’s Health Fund, Hot Bread Kitchen, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Neighborhood Housing Services of NYC and the YMCA of Greater New York. These efforts helped families and businesses with expenses such as rent, healthcare, childcare, transportation, and food supplies, as well as access to technology for remote education, financial counseling, and vaccine distribution.

A financial coaching client from Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.

U.S. SaverLife: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on savings

MetLife Foundation funded SaverLife, a nonprofit fintech organization that helps low-income working families achieve prosperity through savings. By incentivizing people to regularly save a small amount of money, SaverLife sees people take their savings accounts from empty to creating a small cushion to protect them from unexpected expenses. In 2020, SaverLife launched a new report in response to COVID-19 that offered insights into the financial impacts of remote schooling, savings rates, and how working families are bracing for an uncertain economic future.

SaverLife also distributed $425,000 in cash grants from MetLife Foundation to their members, who used the funds to pay rent, bills, and save. Throughout the year, SaverLife communicated with their members and used their data to identify those who had not received stimulus payments from the U.S. federal government program, helping them through the application process and enabling access to the funds.

“With MetLife Foundation’s support and by leveraging our existing technology, SaverLife is uniquely poised to provide effective and rapid economic support to working families facing unprecedented financial uncertainty.” – Leigh Phillips, CEO, SaverLife


In Asia, MetLife Foundation committed more than $4.2 million across 11 countries supporting immediate healthcare needs and providing food supplies and other financial needs for low-income families most affected by the pandemic.

MetLife Foundation also supported leading organizations in India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia and Singapore by providing critical support for immediate healthcare needs, as well as food and cash assistance to low-income families most affected by the pandemic.

iWorkers: Digital marketplaces changing the nature of employment worldwide
These platforms connect and engage hundreds of millions of independent and flexible workers around the world to provide various services. In China, a large percentage of the workforce is widely distributed and digitally managed, such as the 5 million delivery riders connected to the Meituan Dianping and Suning platforms. Through our partners in China like CAFI (Chinese Academy for Financial Inclusion), along with BFAGlobal, and UNCDF, we work with some of the largest marketplaces and platforms, including Meituan Dianping and Lionbridge group, to better understand the financial health of their delivery workers as well as developing and distributing financial services in ways that will improve their financial health.

MicroSave: Supporting creative COVID-19 storytelling
The microfinance sector in Asia serves millions of low-income customers every year—over 100 million in India and Bangladesh alone—with targeted, affordable, and convenient financial services. With the lack of credible information about the pandemic, MicroSave came up with a creative solution: simple, conversational comics that present clear and vetted information on the virus, consistent with WHO and national health ministry messages. With support from MetLife Foundation, MicroSave issued two comics: one for microfinance field staff and one specifically for clients. The free comics reached millions of people throughout the year.

Addressing the facemask shortage in Korea

To help address a nationwide shortage of facemasks, MetLife Korea employees, agents, customers, and family members participated in a volunteer-from-home event organized by MetLife Korea Foundation. The volunteers assembled 2,000 kits providing facemasks and sanitizers for senior citizens living alone.

MetLife Korea volunteers create kits for senior citizens.
MetLife Korea volunteers create kits for senior citizens.

Nippon Foundation: Supporting nurses and caregivers in hospices and homecare nursing centers

MetLife Foundation donated $1 million to Nippon Foundation to support around 6,800 nurses and caregivers in hospitals and homecare nursing centers across Japan. The donation has helped maintain a safe work environment through the distribution of masks, sanitizers, and other personal protective equipment. The program focused on ensuring that nurses and caregivers had the broader support they needed to continue working.

Latin America

In Latin America, MetLife Foundation has committed nearly $1.5 million across 6 countries to support immediate healthcare needs, provide PPE, and meet other financial needs for low-income families most affected by the pandemic.

MetLife Foundation contributed nearly $1 million toward the COVID-19 response in Chile. Rapid antibody identification tests can play a key role in limiting the spread of COVID-19. In May, MetLife Foundation donated 14,400 rapid tests which at the time represented about 20 percent of Chile’s stock of such tests. The test will be used to assist senior care residents and staff to control and understand the disease. Additionally, 1,700 senior citizens throughout the country were provided technology resources and access to services ensuring that their needs were met while maintaining physical distancing.

Additionally, Fundación MetLife Mexico donated more than $2.5 million to support 19 states in Mexico, providing vital medical supplies and equipment to nine local hospitals and hygiene kits and materials to low-income communities. Funding also supported the development of a national hotline for mental health.

Fundación MetLife Mexico donated more than $1.8 million to support 15 states in Mexico
Fundación MetLife Mexico donated more than $1.8 million to support 15 states in Mexico.

FinnSalud: Supporting small businesses through the pandemic

In 2020, FinnSalud studied the measures that low-income people, their small businesses, and their credit unions took to address the impact of the pandemic. FinnSalud, based in Mexico City, was jointly created by MetLife Foundation and BFA Global in 2019 to measure and improve the financial health of the Mexican population by the end of 2022. One objective was to sharpen the focus of the financial inclusion industry in Mexico on desirable outcomes for low- and moderate-income (LMI) customers in partnership with credit unions. It became clear that COVID-19 would require a set of rapid response initiatives that reflected a better understanding of the situation and what measures might be most feasible.

The project successfully launched a series of surveys focused on learning about the financial lives, coping strategies, and resilience mechanisms of LMI Mexicans during the most critical months of the pandemic. In collaboration with MetLife team members, a scenario analysis was conducted, along with interviews with small businesses, individuals, and community credit unions, to better understand Mexico’s situation and recovery scenarios to inform potential futures for credit unions and their members. Lastly, the project developed a Stress Testing Model to help credit unions develop contingency plans to cope with the crisis. During the second half of the year, MetLife supported FinnSalud in developing a financial health measurement tool and index, as well as a resilience focused credit product initiative and digitization efforts. Going forward, FinnSalud aims to launch the financial health measurement tool and support financial service providers with a suite of initiatives that will help them improve the financial well-being of their LMI customers.


In partnership with TECHO, MetLife Foundation provided immediate relief for low-income communities in Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay. In Colombia, funding helped provide the community of El Chontaduro access to quality health services by improving infrastructure and setting up sanitary installations to prevent the spread of disease. In Mexico, funding supported the installation of 32 water collection systems in Mexico City and Toluca, enabling more than 150 people to access water and improve water management for families. In Uruguay, funding provided vulnerable families with emergency hygiene kits.

Habitat for Humanity

MetLife Foundation joined forces with Habitat for Humanity in Brazil to donate essential materials to combat COVID-19 for about 2,000 families. The aid reached more than 20 communities in the states of Bahia, Ceará, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Paraná and São Paulo.


MetLife Foundation committed $600,000 to COVID-19 response initiatives across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In Italy, donations added beds and supplies to Milan’s Buzzi Hospital and other hospitals in the hard-hit Lombardy region. In Spain, the Foundation helped Madrid’s Hospital Universitario La Paz provide personal protective equipment for staff and patients. In France, the Foundation gave equipment and other assistance to the Fondation des Hôpitaux de Paris, which supports public hospitals. The Foundation also supported health care response in Cyprus, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon.

In Bulgaria and Hungary, MetLife Foundation contributions responded to the changed educational environment to ensure that both teachers and students had the support they needed to adapt to digital learning.

MetLife Foundation partnered with organizations in Greece, Egypt and the UK to ensure that vulnerable populations were able to meet their basic needs. In Greece, the Foundation worked with Demos to provide nutrition, medical equipment, and other supplies for six senior care homes. The Foundation also supported local food banks responding to increased demand in Egypt and the Brighton area of the UK.

Over time, the Foundation will continue to closely monitor the global landscape for opportunities where they can make the biggest difference in helping people recover from the pandemic.