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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 individuals and communities. MetLife Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping people manage household budgets, grow their incomes and build wealth, and put good financial habits into practice. Its initiatives help people to save and plan for the future, create more certainty in their lives, and to recover from the unexpected. From supporting workforce development programs to empowering financial technology organizations to provide services to low- and moderate-income people, MetLife Foundation continually seeks to expand opportunities for improving financial health for people around the world.
We’ve partnered with WSJ Custom Studios to show how innovative solutions can improve financial health.
During the initial phase of the pandemic, amid great uncertainty and mass layoffs in the food sector, MetLife Foundation supported Hot Bread Kitchen’s workforce program, which supports women in career coaching and develops training opportunities in industries that offer viable career pathways. In 2021, the organization served 200 women facing inequalities at work, on the streets, and in their homes. Hot Bread Kitchen focused on training the women it serves in facilities management, a field that is forecast to grow 10% through 2026.
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.
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.
We live in a world today where financial health is a persistent challenge for low- to moderate-income communities—a world where 1.7 billion adults don’t have a bank account and where, even in the United States, many would have trouble meeting a large emergency expense. In Bangladesh, approximately 80% of garment workers are women, the majority of whom receive their salaries in cash, have low levels of financial literacy, and lack access to formal banking services. The combination can make it difficult for workers to protect their income and save for the future.
Since 2018, MetLife Foundation and Swisscontact have been supporting Sarathi, a financial inclusion program that works with commercial banks and garment factories to bring workers into the formal banking system. The program enables garment factory owners to pay their workers digitally, enabling workers to receive their pay more securely while reducing their transaction costs. Sarathi is also developing products in partnership with local banks that help workers receive their salaries straight into their bank accounts, save securely for their short- and long-term goals, earn credit to meet their cash flow, and meet other needs.
Through this initiative, several partnerships have been established, including commercial banks opening offices and ATM machines in and around garment factories so that workers can make transactions in a secure and convenient manner. With hands-on financial literacy sessions, Sarathi works to raise awareness of how banking services can help workers take control of their incomes and improve their financial health.
MetLife Foundation joined a consortium of top global and local organizations to support a program called Bharat Inclusion. The program provides rigorously selected social entrepreneurs with high-quality training, advisory services, financial support, mentorship, and market access to grow their business and improve financial health of low to moderate-income people in India. The program is implemented by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, a globally renowned business school, and Micro Save, a MetLife Foundation grantee and industry leader. Entrepreneurs are grouped across three cohorts: Build (idea stage), Validate (proof of concept), and Grow (ready to scale).
FinnSalud is a three-and-a-half-year project launched in 2019 supported by MetLife Foundation and managed by BFA Global in Mexico. The program is developing a set of financial health standards and a measurement tool to shed light on the state of the financial health of Mexicans and to inform initiatives that can improve it. In 2021, FinnSalud developed a:
The project also measured the financial health of over 3,400 employees and members of FinnSalud’s partner institutions to understand whether relevant and affordable financial services promote financial health.
Financial technology (fintech) plays an increasingly important role in providing essential financial services to vulnerable and underserved populations, yet many early-stage fintechs struggle to secure sufficient investment to fuel growth and expand their reach. The Inclusive Fintech 50 competition, co-founded by MetLife Foundation in 2019, spotlights promising inclusive fintechs and the role they play in serving an estimated 3 billion financially underserved customers globally. This work is in collaboration with the Center for Financial Inclusion.
MetLife Korea Foundation has hosted an Inclusion Plus Solution Lab since 2018, focused on helping fintech social enterprises evaluate their social value and impact through mentorships, in partnership with Korea Social Investment. Every year, we organize a “Deal Share Live Day” with about 30 impact investors joining 10 social enterprises for a day of discussions and the chance to compete for a KRW 150 million impact investment and a $30,000 grant.