MetLife Foundation is committed to expanding financial health around the world through research and insights, innovation, and long-term partnerships—with a focus on low- and moderate-income populations. Here’s a look at some of the Foundation's signature efforts globally.
Building financial independence with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) understands that healthy, sustainable communities are made up of people who have living-wage jobs and feel confident about their economic futures. MetLife Foundation understands this too. That’s why the Foundation supports LISC’s efforts to provide low- and moderate-income individuals with the skills they need to gain meaningful employment and manage their money through budgeting, building good credit, and saving for education and retirement. Since 2013, MetLife Foundation has contributed almost $8 million to LISC for its network of Financial Opportunity Centers, which provides employment services, one-on-one financial coaching, and low-cost financial products that help build credit, savings, and assets for thousands of clients nationwide. In 2020 alone, MetLife Foundation contributed $2 million to help small business resiliency for entrepreneurs of color and $500,000 to provide cash support to families impacted by COVID-19.
Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp: Supporting a New York Community
In 2020, MetLife Foundation granted $200,000 to Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, one of the oldest community development organizations based in the United States. The organization pursues strategies to close gaps in family and community wealth in Central Brooklyn with the belief that a flourishing Brooklyn community must be anchored in a culture of equity and inclusion. MetLife Foundation’s grant was used to help families and businesses with immediate funds to cover rent, healthcare, and childcare during the pandemic, as well as provide financial counseling and food supplies to low-income residents.
Improving financial decision-making with Common Cents Lab
Research has shown that human behavior—even that which seems irrational—is often quite predictable. Understanding human behavior can inform better product development to help people plan for the future, manage their daily financial lives, and improve their financial health. In 2017, MetLife Foundation supported the creation of Common Cents Lab (CCL), a financial decision-making lab at Duke University, to more deeply understand and leverage behavioral science in order to design better financial products and services for low- and moderate-income people that will support healthy financial choices. Now in its fourth year, the Lab uses behavioral science to help people improve their financial decision-making by focusing on what motivates their decisions and by designing and tweaking financial products/services to meet those needs. With the success of CCL in the US, the program has been expanded into Mexico, Turkey, and China.
In 2020, the Common Cents Lab continued to make progress, working with 100 different organizations on 144 projects and fully completed 123 experiments reaching over 1.5 million people. Specific to financial health, CCL worked on 65 projects to improve financial well-being across 48 different organizations in the United States, Turkey, Mexico, and China in 2020. If these interventions were rolled out at full scale, they would have an estimated reach of over 6 million people.
Empowering women with Trickle Up
Empowering women with the right skills, financial assistance, and social support can have a large-scale positive impact on societies. Trickle Up, a global nonprofit, works with some of the most financially vulnerable people in the world, particularly women, to help advance their economic and social well-being. With MetLife Foundation's support, Trickle Up delivers the Graduation Approach—a proven methodology to get people out of extreme poverty that provides participants with seed capital to start a microbusiness. Participants also learn financial and business management skills and come together in groups to help each other access government benefits and banking services such as savings and credit. On average, for each woman Trickle Up empowers, five people benefit. And when women succeed, so can their children and families.
Since 2013, through MetLife Foundation’s support, Trickle Up has reached more than 125,000 low-income people from Mexico, Bangladesh, and Vietnam.