Home CATEGORIES Business Ethics & Philanthropy Global CSR Report: MetLife Is resuscitating financial health and inclusion

Global CSR Report: MetLife Is resuscitating financial health and inclusion

MetLife Inc., through its affiliates and subsidiaries, provides protection planning and retirement and savings solutions around the world. The group has established a strong presence in more than 40 markets globally through organic growth, acquisitions, joint ventures and other partnerships. In our series #letstalkCSR we take a closer look at the company’s corporate citizenship and community welfare initiatives in different parts of the world.

1. About MetLife

The MetLife companies offer life, accident and health insurance, retirement and savings products through agents, third-party distributors such as banks and brokers, and direct marketing channels. They work with families, corporations and governments to provide them with solutions that offer financial guarantees in their lives. They are building a stronger and more agile conglomerate that can pivot in a variety of environments. They are embracing new opportunities in sustainability that build on their expertise in asset management, employee benefits, and financial protection.

1.1. Sustainability Priorities

In 2020, MetLife companies globally made great strides across their priorities, including launching their 2030 environmental goals; elevating our longstanding commitment to racial equity and inclusion with new goals and initiatives; developing new, targeted products; leveraging investment capabilities to drive solutions in communities and for the environment; expanding financial health globally with MetLife Foundation; and supporting their workforce by implementing flexible work options, enhanced benefits, and mental health programmes.
In 2020, MetLife also became the first U.S.-based insurer to join the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, which calls for companies to align their operations and strategies with 10 universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment, and anti-corruption. Moving forward, they will partner with the UNGC to not only elevate their own efforts but also to use the principles as important guides to prioritize and focus their work.

2. COVID-19 initiatives

In 2020, as the world navigated the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on every aspect of daily life, the Foundation supported nonprofit partners as they pivoted quickly. It provided new grants to nonprofit organizations, enabled access to virtual resources and safe and reliable PPE for frontline workers, and donated goods and products to local communities. MetLife employees raised money to support local food banks struggling to meet the rise in food insecurity across the U.S. and disaster relief in Australia and Lebanon. Globally, they spent thousands of hours sewing masks, interacting with the elderly, making cards with their families for frontline workers, and providing pro bono support to racial equity, financial health, and other social sector organizations through counseling, virtual sessions, and more.

2.1. Relief activities

In keeping with their efforts to provide financial protection and support for people during life’s most destabilizing moments, between premium credits and contributions from the MetLife Foundation, they provided more than $250 million of relief to help people cope with COVID-19.
– MetLife Foundation committed $25 million globally to pandemic relief and recovery.
– Donated medical supplies, including facemasks, hand sanitizers, and disinfectant wipes to help protect first responders and others.
– Offered MetLife majority-owned properties as housing for healthcare workers, and as hospitals, if needed.
– Established a new paid voluntary leave programme for in-house medical professionals to help fight COVID-19.
– Supported 11 hospitals through Fundación MetLife Mexico, along with launching the “Caring for those who care for us” campaign to support medical personnel.

2.2. Fundraising for Food Banks in the U.S.

In March 2020, MetLife Foundation donated $1 million for immediate relief to 11 food banks in the U.S., along with establishing a matching programme for employee food bank donations. In November 2020, MetLife Foundation provided an additional $1,150,000 to food banks as the need for essential items remained critical. MetLife employees donated $450,721 to 14 food banks across the U.S., the largest amount ever raised through a special U.S. employee matching programme.

3. Racial Equity

This past year has brought increased attention to issues of social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the urgent need to build a more equitable society. As a purpose-driven company, MetLife is galvanized not only to speak for but, more importantly, to act in support of a more inclusive workplace and just society.

3.1. New Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council

Led by MetLife President and CEO Michel Khalaf, the new Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Council will drive and execute DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) strategy across businesses, functions, and regions, provide strategic guidance and insight to improve performance, and visibly promote and champion DEI internally and externally.

3.2. Talent Representation

Accelerating Representation of Women of Colour: As a signatory of Catalyst CEO Champions for Change, they have committed to accelerate the representation of women, including women of colour, in executive and senior-level positions.
Building a Talent Pipeline: MetLife launched EXCELERATE, a new talent sponsorship programme that pairs Executive Group members with mid-level Black/ African American and Hispanic/ Latino employees to accelerate their progression to officer-level roles.

3.3. Pro Bono With the Equal Justice Initiative

MetLife’s Legal Affairs Diversity Committee collaborated with partner law firm Sidley Austin LLP on legal research and preparation support on two Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) capital cases where Sidley represented defendants who were wrongfully sentenced to death.

3.4. Grants and Partnerships That Advance Racial Equity

Promoting Black/African American Educational and Career Opportunities: MetLife Foundation announced $5 million in new commitments to advance racial equity in the U.S. over three years, specifically to promote Black/African American educational and career opportunities, Black/African American business ownership, and racial justice initiatives, in addition to the $10 million in annual contributions the MetLife Foundation makes to support diverse communities and racial equity.
This included:
– Immediate support of $1 million to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), a partner of MetLife and MetLife Foundation since 1945, to finance scholarships at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This builds on their decades-long relationship with the UNCF and will help finance the newly established MetLife Foundation Scholarship Fund.
– An additional $250,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. to support structural changes that expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice.
Expanding the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) programme: Contributed $250,000 to nonprofit SEO to expand their SEO Scholars programme into a hybrid model (online and in-person), allowing thousands of low-income youth, especially young people of colour, to join as a result.

3.5. Donations and scholarship fund

MetLife Foundation committed an additional $5 million in 2020 toward expanding racial equity in the U.S., supplementing the $10 million it already contributes every year to support diverse communities and racial equity. The Scholarship Fund will support 60 college juniors attending HBCUs majoring in business, accounting, or finance every year. Three cohorts of 20 students each will receive approximately $7,300 each, with potential for renewal for their senior year. MetLife Foundation matched 250 employee contributions as well to the UNCF and NAACP Legal Defense Fund, totaling more than $43,000.

4. Corporate Social Responsibility

A key part of MetLife’s commitment to corporate social responsibility is the work of MetLife Foundation. The Foundation is committed to expanding opportunities for low- and moderate-income people around the world. It partners with nonprofit organizations and social enterprises to create financial health solutions and build stronger communities, while engaging MetLife employee volunteers to help drive impact. Since 1976, MetLife Foundation has contributed nearly $1 billion to build stronger communities. Their financial health work has reached more than 17.3 million low- and moderate-income individuals in 42 markets.

“MetLife Foundation’s recent commitment of $25 million to help communities recover from COVID-19, and $5 million to address racial justice issues are part of the nearly $1 billion the Foundation has provided since its founding in 1976. Employees have also stepped up, providing more than 60,000 volunteer hours and pro bono services in 2020.”

– Michael Zarcone, EVP Corporate Affairs

MetLife Foundation focuses on supporting communities around the world through grants, impact investments, employee volunteerism and donations, and long-term grassroots partnerships.

4.1. Sustainability Education

With MetLife Foundation’s support, nonprofit EcoRise expanded its financial and environmental literacy programme for students in New Jersey. EcoRise works with companies across the U.S. to bring their sustainability, leadership, and innovation into the classroom to help youth tackle realworld challenges and become problem solvers through a train-the-teacher model.
In 2020, at economically disadvantaged schools in Jersey City, New Jersey, the company sponsored 20 teachers who were provided with over 200 lessons to help introduce youth to sustainability, LEED credentials, and green building and design innovation, reaching over 500 students in total. The Foundation also partnered with EcoRise to establish a Student Innovation Fund, which awarded six student teams with $500 each to help make their green ideas a reality.
Participating student teams submitted solutions for challenges specific to their school and community, with awardees selected based on the innovation of their solutions and their measurability. The company’s volunteers from different departments across the U.S. served as judges and mentors, offering feedback and asking questions. Student projects ranged from weather stations to hydroponic gardens for their schools.

4.2. Community Solutions

Brownsville Community Trust, a centrepiece of racially and economically equitable development, designed to create and preserve wealth for community residents in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

4.3. Art & Culture

– Americas Society, a series that presents artists who are both superb musicians and cultural ambassadors of myriad social and musical traditions.
– Staycation Cultural Opportunities, a virtual experience of art, music, and science, while social distancing guidelines and restrictions remain in place, in partnership with organizations such as the Liberty Science Center, New York Hall of Fame, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
– The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Visitors with Disabilities programmes, a special ongoing programme devoted to making the museum’s galleries accessible for people with disabilities, along with special programming and workshops throughout the year.

4.4. Youth

Boys & Girls Clubs of America, for which MetLife Foundation has sponsored the Honor Awards for over 30 years, helping BGCA recognize innovative and effective programmes that have positively impacted millions of young lives across the Movement.

4.5. Diversity & Inclusion

Girls Who Code, which provides rising 11th and 12th grade girls with a unique blend of computer science, sisterhood, and careers in technology through a seven-week programme, embedding their classrooms in top companies and giving them a chance to explore the many applications of computer science and engage with top female leaders.

4.6. Veterans

Bunker Labs, which supports military-connected entrepreneurs by providing them the resources that help grow their businesses.

4.7. Supporting UNICEF´s Back-to-School Efforts

MetLife Mexico and Fundación MetLife partnered with UNICEF to support its back-to-school efforts in the states of Chiapas, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Michoacán, and Oaxaca with a $403,000 grant. The grant was used to install hand-washing stations in 100 public schools, reaching 20,000 students, teachers, school authorities, and parents. The grant also helped educational authorities develop guidelines, health protocols, training materials, and workshops to help keep children safe in school.

4.8. Impact Investments

The company have a long history of impact investing that creates value for communities and catalyzes inclusion and equity: from supporting projects that help expand racial equity and help women become financially independent to working with credit unions and community-based organizations on expanding financial health to the under- and unbanked. In 2020, they made a new commitment to our communities: to originate $500 million of new MetLife impact investments by 2030 with 25% allocated to climate change priorities.

4.8.1. Bias-Reduction Programmes

The Foundation closed a $2 million equity commitment in the Illumen-managed fund of funds. Illumen Capital leverages its investment power to deliver capital, combined with evidence-based bias-reduction training and coaching for its portfolio of fund managers. With guidance from Stanford SPARQ, Illumen Capital has developed a 10-year bias-reduction programme for fund managers, designed to help managers make better decisions, expand their investable landscape, and maximize and protect every dollar invested.

4.8.2. Targeted Investments in Racially and Ethnically Diverse Communities

Financial exclusion has been a persistent problem in the southeastern U.S., particularly for communities of colour. High-cost predatory financial service providers extract billions of dollars in fees and interest from unbanked and underbanked consumers who are better served by credit unions. In 2019, the company committed $10 million to Inclusiv Southern Equity Fund to invest capital in credit unions serving low-income and racially and ethnically diverse communities in 17 southeastern states.

5. Financial Health and Inclusion

MetLife Foundation supports millions of people on their journey to financial health, empowering low- and moderate-income people to build better lives for themselves and their families and to envision a more confident future.

5.1. Bharat Inclusion Initiative

MetLife Foundation joined a consortium of top global and local organizations to support a programme called Bharat Inclusion. The programme 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 programme is implemented by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (aka IIM-A) and MicroSave, a MetLife Foundation grantee and industry leader, and is supported by leading foundations including JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Gates, Michael and Susan Dell, and Omidyar Network. Entrepreneurs are grouped across three cohorts: Build (idea stage), Validate (proof of concept), and Grow (ready to scale).
So far, the programme has supported 27 early-stage startups in three cohorts. Cumulatively, these startups have already served over 3 million low- to moderate-income individuals and raised over $14.5 million in funding since their participation in the Inclusion Plus Solution Lab.

5.2. Inclusive Fintech 50

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. The 2020 competition attracted more than 400 applicants, operating in 111 countries and reaching 116 million customers. Through a competitive process led by an independent judging panel—including representation from MetLife’s Innovation team, 50 early-stage fintechs were selected for their efforts to drive financial inclusion and resilience.
In a year characterized by lockdowns and social distancing, many of the Inclusive Fintech 50 winners demonstrated the value of a digital-first business model by rapidly adapting to support customers. For example, Kaleidofin, a neo-bank in India, engaged their customers through digital channels and found that 70% continued to save digitally despite the lockdown. Aflore in Colombia leveraged and incentivized its network of female advisors to communicate with customers and make sure their needs were being met—helping Aflore close its Series B funding amid the pandemic. By shining a light on these promising early-stage companies, Inclusive Fintech 50 helps drive investment to companies that are providing critical financial services to assist people as they navigate economic uncertainty and build resilience for the future.

5.3. Supporting Startups Focused on Financial Health

In 2019, MetLife Foundation and Village Capital launched Finance Forward, a global coalition to support early-stage entrepreneurs building tech-enabled solutions around financial health in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and India. To date, Finance Forward has supported more than 89 ventures from over 20 countries with over 2,400 hours of direct mentorship and engagement from 100 MetLife team members, and, in the process, has given away more than $600,000 in grants.
In 2020, Finance Forward programmes took place virtually in Latin America, U.S., Europe, MENA, and India. Entrepreneurs that participated in these programmes around the world offer innovative solutions to improve the financial health of individuals and businesses in their respective regions.
Some examples include:
– Markit, in Lebanon, which helps small and medium-sized grocers offer their inventory and delivery services to customers through an online platform;
– U-Zave, in Chile, which helps Latin Americans save a percentage of every purchase they make;
– Finclude Ai, in Ireland, which creates a pan-European creditworthiness and affordability score that can help migrants working in the European Union; and
– Finerio, in Mexico, which helps fintechs, banks, and financial institutions update their services and process client data for useful insights on financial well-being.

5.4. Improving Financial Health for the Unbanked

MetLife Foundation is the founding partner of Common Cents Lab (CCL) and has supported its work since 2017. CCL is a financial decision-making research lab at Duke University that creates and tests interventions to help lowand moderate-income households improve their financial health. CCL’s team of researchers and experts leverage research gleaned from behavioural economics to design product interventions that help drive five positive financial behaviours: Increasing short-term savings; Increasing long-term savings; Decreasing bad debt; Decreasing expenses; and Increasing income.
In 2020, CCL worked on 65 projects to improve financial well-being across 48 different organizations in the United States, Turkey, Mexico, and China, expanding its cumulative direct reach to over 1.5 million people. If these interventions were rolled out at full scale, they would have an estimated reach of over 6 million people.

5.5. Getting an Early Start on Financial Health

In partnership with MetLife Foundation, Sesame Workshop launched Phase II of its Dream, Save, Do (DSD) programme in three countries: Brazil, Japan, and Mexico. This phase emphasized planning—a vital skill in building financial health—and included an explicit focus on adults. Due to the pandemic, Sesame Workshop modified plans in each market based on local restrictions and opportunities, ensuring that teachers, parents, and children could continue to interact with the content. Many of the restrictions on schooling and in-person gatherings remain in effect, and all teams have successfully adapted their programmes for continued application by teachers and facilitators in their “new normal.”
Findings in Japan revealed that parents enjoyed the child-parent interactive nature of the programme and that it created opportunities for them to talk with their children openly. Finally, in Mexico, the second phase of DSD advanced digitally in five cities: Mexico City, Jalisco, Nuevo Leon, Veracruz, and Zacatecas, in response to the social distancing guidelines and with the determination to continue promoting financial health in the country. Activities included: Social Media campaigns, including “Grover Explains it All,” with one of Sesame Street’s favorite blue monsters helping viewers identify easy-to-adopt solutions and tools applicable in the current and changing economic climate; and using WhatsApp to support programme delivery to teachers and families, enabling busy mothers and even preschool children to virtually communicate with peers and teachers.
The MetLife team supported these efforts by distributing materials and information on building financial health during the pandemic to employees. Sesame Workshop helped create a short video to contextualize the DSD programme along with family activities to expand the concept of a “Dream Day,” typically done at the school level, but evolved to cater to a larger online community, reaching more children and families virtually.

5.6. Empowering the Most Financially Vulnerable

With the Foundation’s support, Trickle Up delivers an innovative social and economic empowerment programme for women called the Graduation Approach. This proven approach enables participants to receive seed capital to jumpstart a business, learn financial and business management skills, and come together in groups to save, access credit, and link to banks and government financial programmes. Women not only grow their assets, but they also gain skills and confidence to achieve greater economic self-sufficiency as well as leadership in their communities. On average, for each woman Trickle Up empowers, five people benefit. And when women succeed, so can their children and families. The programme’s virtual learning symposium closed out 2020 as Trickle Up partners from Bangladesh, Mexico, and Vietnam met with the Foundation over three days to share learnings and celebrate the challenges and successes faced by Trickle Up’s families.

5.7. Investing in Fintech Social Enterprises

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, they 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. The 10 teams completed 12 weeks of acceleration in 2020, including virtual mentorship and participation in the “Deal Share Live Day.”
In its second year, the Inclusion Plus Solution Lab kicked off with 10 social enterprises, including those that provide financial transaction services for migrant workers, virtual branch services for financially vulnerable populations, and a savings application for millennials.

5.8. Private Sector Alliance to Promote Financial Inclusion in Mexico

MetLife Mexico was invited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to cofound a new Alliance, called the Private Sector Alliance to Promote Financial Inclusion, to further expand financial inclusion, given the rich legacy of MetLife Mexico and Fundación MetLife in the country. The Alliance has focused on developing collaborative business models that not only help companies do well financially, but also expand inclusion and financial health for underserved customer segments. This represents the first high-level, private-private partnership coordinated by a UN organization to foster financial inclusion in Mexico.

5.9. Helping Young Women Plan for Their Future

MetLife Foundation partner Laboratoria pivoted their work in Chile to be completely virtual. While training young women to build technology skills, Laboratoria developed a behaviorally-designed programme to provide these newly employed women with better tools to manage their increased income. The coaching, counseling, and peer communications are focused on managing day-to-day expenses, saving for emergencies and retirement, and managing and understanding debt.

5.10. Enabling Crowdfunding Solutions to Help MSMEs

In 2018, MetLife Foundation began a three-year partnership, including $3 million in funding, with global nonprofit Accion in Latin America to empower underserved consumers and enable financial service providers to better serve low-income Latin Americans. With MetLife Foundation’s support, Accion partnered with local fintech RedCapital in 2020 to adapt their crowdfunding invoice financing platform to reach small businesses. RedCapital is the first crowdfunding platform with a sole focus on small and medium enterprises in Chile, enabling them to maintain their businesses and keep their teams employed during the pandemic—critical in a country where nearly 30% of the population works in the informal sector.
Through this partnership, Accion also worked with Destácame, a fintech company and a free online financial management platform, in 2020 to help low-income people find a better path to financial health through its personal financial management platform. Given how helpless users were feeling because of restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, Destácame completely redesigned the experience to improve budgeting and saving by adding simple diagnostics, customized user journeys, and digestible tips, tools, and product recommendations that matched the user’s reality. Now the platform makes recommendations based on a user’s unique solution. For example, if a user is unsure about covering their monthly expenses, the platform will direct her to complete a budget first to gain a better understanding of her cash flow.
Accion is also working in Mexico with two cooperatives— Caja Cerano and Caja Bienestar—to promote financial health. With Caja Cerano, Accion is developing AlianzApp, a product targeted to the needs of youth, giving youth their first experience with a financial institution. It allows them to begin their financial journey by saving money every week toward a specific goal beginning with savings or taking out a loan with the intention to build a credit history coupled with the completion of a goal.
With Caja Bienestar, Accion is developing a product to provide microentrepreneurs with access to capital for inventory through the use of a revolving credit line, delivered via partnerships with local suppliers, such as wholesale food products vendors and construction materials manufacturers. Information and recommendations from these suppliers will be used to pre-approve a group of microentrepreneurs who can then access credit to replenish their inventory. Credit requests will be submitted and approved using a new digital application that includes a simulator and other interventions like messages and notifications to build financial capabilities among the platform users.

6. Corporate Volunteering

Globally, the company’s employees contribute to their communities in diverse ways year-round, supporting education, the environment, and financial health. In 2020, volunteering shifted from in-person projects to initiatives employees could do safely from home. Partnering with nonprofits to advance racial justice and opportunity and respond to COVID-19 was a focus. Guided by their purpose and motivated by a commitment to make a difference, MetLife reported more volunteers than in 2019.

6.1. 90 Days of Giving

In MetLife’s first global virtual volunteer initiative, employees lived the Purpose by volunteering for projects focused on helping vulnerable children, families, and communities. MetLife Foundation donated to four nonprofits—Together We Rise, Save the Children, Helping Hands, and Special Olympics—which offered simple, hands-on volunteer projects that employees could do safely from home, often with their family. Nearly 10,000 employees in 39 markets volunteered, making Volunteering with Purpose MetLife’s largest volunteer effort to date. Some of the highlights from 90 Days of Giving are:

6.1.1. First-Night Kits for Kids in Foster Care (USA)

When a child enters the U.S. foster care system for the first time or moves from home to home, they are often handed a trash bag to pack their possessions. MetLife Foundation made a donation to nonprofit Together We Rise, which provided duffle bags filled with supplies to replace these garbage bags. MetLife volunteers added their creativity by decorating the bag’s panels with special pictures and encouraging messages—all to help transform the way thousands of kids experience foster care.

6.1.2. Writing Virtual Letters With Save the Children

Immediate and long-term threats of COVID-19 will likely impact an entire generation, and the poorest and most marginalized communities were among the hardest hit. Save the Children supplied medical and hygiene supplies and preparedness training to help prevent the spread of infection in such communities worldwide. MetLife Foundation’s donation helped them continue this work. In addition, the company’s employees wrote letters—in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic—to bring encouragement— and a smile—to children in these communities. Mexico led all countries in the campaign, with volunteers writing almost 700 letters for Save the Children’s Yucatan programme.

6.1.3. Assembling Sports Backpacks and Building Prosthetics (Asia and EMEA)

When the pandemic forced the closure of schools and facilities, it also halted in-person Special Olympics programming for Young Athletes, children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. With many families lacking access to technology, the company partnered with Special Olympics to create athletic backpacks with tools to engage Young Athletes and resources for their parents to support their children’s health and well-being during the pandemic. Volunteers assembled the kits, often creating inspirational messages and cheerful drawings for the children. Employees also volunteered for the Odyssey Teams Helping Hands programme, assembling prosthetic hands and decorating carrying cases for amputees living in developing countries.

6.2. Japan: Virtual Volunteering to Celebrate CSR Month

MetLife Japan celebrated CSR Month in October 2020 with the launch of a new CSR strategy under the slogan of “One MetLife—Act Together Now for Our Community,” along with a wide range of virtual activities in keeping with its focus on the elderly and children. Partnering with four nonprofits—Nippon Foundation, Habitat for Humanity Japan, Save the Children Japan, and Shine On Kids—online information sessions were coordinated to learn more about the challenges being faced by our seniors and children. Employees volunteered virtually to participate in activities that supported frontline workers who help the elderly and children on the ground. In addition, community activities included sewing mask cases, assembling kits for children with disabilities, organizing a live music performance for hospitalized children, and participating in a book donation drive.

6.3. Pro Bono and Skills-Based Volunteering

MetLife employees have a wealth of expertise and skills, which they generously share with the social sector to extend their community reach and impact. They sustained this commitment in 2020, pivoting to virtual volunteering and working with young people and organizations to meet growing needs.

6.3.1. Taproot

Opportunity Workshops, run by Taproot Foundation in partnership with MetLife Foundation and Dell Technologies, brought together teams of specifically skilled employees from Dell and MetLife to assist nonprofits in developing solutions for an issue critical to their day-today success. The workshops benefitted 28 nonprofit partners, with the majority focused on racial opportunity and justice and COVID-19. Over 120 volunteers—60 from MetLife—participated in the two-day fully virtual event, with each nonprofit paired with three to five MetLife and Dell Technologies volunteers to improve an approach, process, or tool fundamental to their success.

6.3.2. Legal Affairs

Legal Affairs builds stronger communities and strengthens the workforce through pro bono and volunteer opportunities. The company partners directly with legal services organizations and law firms to create meaningful opportunities that support their communities and allow employees to grow as leaders. In 2020, the team continued its commitment to pro bono— adapting to a virtual environment and increasing its focus on racial justice.
Legal Affairs mobilized volunteers to work with the Equal Justice Initiative. With outside counsel Sidley Austin LLP, MetLife lawyers and paralegals worked on two EJI capital cases where Sidley represented defendants who were wrongfully convicted or sentenced to the death penalty. Legal Affairs volunteers helped Sidley update legal research and prepare for the appellate court hearings in mock oral arguments.
As in past years, Legal Affairs participated in an Election Protection call centre organized by their law firm partner, Proskauer Rose LLP. Election Protection is a nonpartisan organization with a goal of making sure that every eligible voter can cast a ballot. MetLife’s 17 participants contributed more than 100 hours for virtual shifts and training, and provided assistance such as identifying polling places and registration status, supporting COVID-19 protocols and escalating nonworking voting machines.

6.4. Mentoring for Impact

6.4.1. Mentoring Financial Health Startups Around the World

MetLife employees volunteered virtually in the Finance Forward programme in partnership with Village Capital by serving as mentors to startup founders based in the U.S., Latin America, and EMEA. The mentors worked with the entrepreneurs, leveraging an array of skills, including business, marketing, management, and financial services expertise. One hundred volunteers from 20 countries across EMEA, Latin America, and the U.S. provided over 2,400 hours of direct mentorship to entrepreneurs.

6.4.2. Mentoring Young People

Junior Achievement: Recognizing the pandemic’s impact on young people, employee volunteers sustained their commitment to being there, listening, and helping them develop skills to succeed in school, the workplace, and life. With volunteer partners Junior Achievement (JA), MetLife employees mentored and taught personal finance, work readiness, and entrepreneurship to local students. Shifting from in-person, classroom-based volunteering, employees in 26 markets volunteered with students, pivoting to virtual programme delivery with the onset of the pandemic.
They also served on regional and local JA boards in Asia, EMEA, and the U.S. and raised funds for JA programmes. MetLife Korea launched a programme for vocational high school students in Seoul, Daejeon, Kwangju, and Busan. MetLife Mexico engaged sales force volunteers in Yucatan and Puebla in the digital Finance Park programme, reaching more than 500 students. Associates in Turkey taught personal finance to more than 600 elementary and middle school students.
Big Brothers Big Sisters and Girls Who Code: These two U.S. initiatives gave young people exposure to careers and the workplace, while developing their skills. Through their Workplace Mentoring Programme with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, volunteers worked one-on-one with public high school students to explore careers and improve resume-writing, interview skills, and workplace etiquette. Volunteers for Girls Who Code, which teaches girls computer science, provided online mentoring and sessions about data analytics and the data scientist, and managing change and transition.

7. Disaster Recovery

The company and its employees rose to the occasion when there was a natural disaster to support their communities with their time, volunteerism, and donations.

7.1. Partnership with Habitat for Humanity

Before the pandemic, over 130 MetLife Nepal volunteers built Habitat for Humanity houses for an earthquake affected community in the Kavre region. The volunteers worked along with community members to do prep work for Habitat for Humanity to build permanent, stable, earthquake-resistant houses.
In Australia, the MetLife team partnered with Habitat for Humanity to launch Fit 4 Humanity. For every 30 minutes of outside activity by a MetLife associate, MetLife Foundation donated $10 to Habitat for Humanity. The unique CSR programme allowed them to continue supporting Habitat for Humanity in a trying year, encouraged people to get active, and helped make associates feel like they could still contribute meaningfully to their local communities. It also gave Habitat for Humanity a new engagement model that they have since rolled out to other corporate partners.

7.2. Rebuilding Lebanon

MetLife Foundation committed $500,000 to help Lebanon recover and rebuild after the devastating Beirut port explosion in August 2020. Associates donated an additional $5,000 to the International Medical Corps and $8,500 to the Red Cross, both matched by MetLife Foundation.

7.3. Australian bushfires

AU$40,000 were raised for the Red Cross to help with the bushfires at the beginning of 2020. These funds were raised in partnership with MetLife Foundation and the global team, including employee donations from around the world, a match by the Foundation, and country-level employee matches.
Disclaimer: This report largely contains extracts from the MetLife 2020 Sustainability Report