MetLife Foundation: Grants for Global Development

OVERVIEW: The MetLife Foundation’s global development work solely focuses on financial inclusion efforts in underserved communities in “every country where MetLife works.”

 IP TAKE: This foundation has supported many large INGOs in its financial inclusion work. However, smaller organizations should note that MetLife considers all of its partners, both big and small, key players in the drive for global financial inclusion.

PROFILE: Since 1976, MetLife Foundation has supported underserved populations all over the world. The foundation has restructured its grantmaking and implemented a new giving strategy that is now squarely focused on financial inclusion.

Metlife's international giving focuses on both "developing and developed economies to expand and improve financial services." It funds approaches that support low- and moderate-income people:

  • improve basic cash flow management
  • prepare for life’s inevitable challenges
  • take advantage of opportunities
  • achieve their short- and long- term goals.

In 2013 the MetLife Foundation furthered its financial inclusion efforts by announcing a $200 million global campaign for financial inclusion in low-income communities in Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the U.S. According to Nandika Madgavkar, assistant vice president of corporate responsibility, the campaign is on a five-year time clock to “impact at least 2 million lives” by the time the campaign comes to an end. To achieve that goal, the foundation has partnered with large organizations such as Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Opportunity International, and the Wall Street Journal.

Partnering with heavyweights like Opportunity International and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to advance its overarching mission isn’t unusual for the MetLife Foundation. However, the foundation is keenly aware of the fact that grassroots organizations are just as important as major multinational outfits—perhaps even more so as these smaller organizations often directly serve their communities.

MetLife Foundation’s grant amounts vary widely, from $50,000 to $500,000 depending on the key area. For more detailed information on the foundation’s grantees, you can access its latest annual report via MetLife’s Reports and Research page.

The MetLife Foundation a rather accessible grantmaker and accepts applications on an ongoing basis via its online portal. However, in its international giving, MetLife reviews proposals by invitation only "from organizations that have proven success in the area of financial inclusion. Please note that we will not review unsolicited letters of inquiry or proposals."

PEOPLE: 

  • Dennis White, President and CEO
  • April Hawkins, Assistant Vice President
  • Evelyn Stark, Assistant Vice President, Financial Inclusion Lead
  • Nandika Madgavkar, Assistant Vice President of Corporate Responsibility 
  • Sarah Willis-Ertur, Program Manager, Financial Inclusion

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