As the death toll and number of people injured in the Nepal earthquake continues to rise, some donors are jumping in early to aid with rescue and relief efforts—even if disaster recovery isn’t typically in their giving wheelhouse, as it is in the case of the MetLife Foundation.
The MetLife Foundation awards grants out of three main programs that typically revolve around financial security and inclusion. So its $250,000 contribution to the International Medical Corps’ Nepal Earthquake Fund is a bit out of the norm for this foundation. The money will be used to support the Corps’ work providing relief supplies, health care services to survivors, and training for medical first responders.
Having awarded over $650 million in grants since its inception, MetLife seems to allow for a little bit of wiggle room in its funding. While disaster relief and recovery may not be a typical funding area for MetLife, such efforts aren’t out of the question here, as the foundation has an historic and heavy interest in helping poor people around the world.
MetLife has geared its work toward poor populations since 1909 when it established its Welfare Division. Eventually, MetLife became one of the largest insurance companies in the world and established the MetLife Foundation in 1976. Although many decades had passed between the establishment of the Welfare Division and formation of the foundation, MetLife’s fundamental philosophy of helping the world’s poorest populations hasn’t changed—much.
Not long ago, MetLife’s financial inclusion and global development related grants seemed to focus on niche markets like Greece, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Poland, and Russia, to name a few. In recent years, the foundation has expanded its regional areas of focus to include low income populations living in Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East.
Nepal was among the poorest countries in the world before the earthquake hit and although many believe it’s too early to assess the economic losses resulting from the quake, some experts are estimating damages at between $1 billion and $10 billion. Needless to say, this landlocked country is going to need all the help it can get.