MetLife Foundation | A Message from the President

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MetLife Foundation | A Message from the President

From the desk of A. Dennis White President & CEO, MetLife Foundation
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.@MetLife Foundation President Dennis White, offers an annual report message focused on healthy financial behaviors

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A. Dennis White President & CEO, MetLife Foundation


We're emphasizing what we call "edu-action" – the chance to put healthy financial behaviors into practice.

Monday, May 2, 2016 - 10:00am

CAMPAIGN: MetLife Foundation Annual Report 2015

CONTENT: Article

Anyone who works in financial services comes to understand that financial well-being affects, and is affected by, virtually every other area of life—from health status to educational attainment to family formation and much more. So a person’s ability to live the life he or she wants will depend, to a significant degree, on the ability to manage money. And the ability to manage money depends, in turn, on the availability of effective financial services—services grounded in a real understanding of the customers’ needs.

A customer-focused approach is the heart of what MetLife Foundation wants to achieve. We are excited about the insights emerging from our grant-making in behavioral economics, including insights about improving financial education by making it action-oriented. Most adults already know that it is important to budget and save, just as we know it’s important to exercise and eat right. Our failure to do those things cannot be addressed simply through information because lack of information is not the primary reason we fail to meet our goals in exercise, diet—or saving. The issue is behavioral: time management, or fear of the unknown, or simple inertia or procrastination, or some other behavioral factor.

So for adults, MetLife Foundation’s grant-making deemphasizes classroom-style adult education in favor of what we call “edu-action”— the chance to put healthy financial behaviors into practice and to learn by doing. It’s the difference between someone telling you that it’s important to save—and someone helping you decide which account to open and how to set it up, and encouraging you to stick with it—as our grantee International Rescue Committee does for recent immigrants. Behavioral economics has important implications for product and service design, too. In Mexico, our grantee ideas42 discovered that one of the reasons people failed to plan for retirement was that they worried it was selfish, that all their money should go toward their children. So ideas42’s recommendations to Mexico’s retirement system included culturally appropriate messages that retirement planning is admirable and can help parents avoid becoming a financial burden to their adult children.

In the pages that follow, MetLife Foundation is pleased to share some of the exciting work our grantees are doing around our three thematic focus areas—Knowledge, Services, and Insights. We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with some of the best organizations in the field and to share their work via high-profile partnerships. For example, the 2015 debut of our sponsorship of The Wall Street Journal’s “Financial Inclusion Challenge-Asia” provided a prestigious global platform to showcase our grantees’ work and to raise awareness about financial inclusion. The “Financial Inclusion Challenge-Asia” was so successful it has been renewed for a second year. 

This report also describes the commitment of MetLife to our local communities. From medical and health research to arts and culture, disaster relief to workforce readiness, MetLife remains committed to being a positive force in every community where we work. I am particularly proud of the ever-growing support and enthusiasm the Foundation’s work inspires among our associates. The Foundation’s partnership with Kiva, for example, lets MetLife associates direct microloans to the clients of their choice. In Latin America alone, in just the fourth quarter of 2015, more than 1,500 associates participated, directing loans to borrowers in 44 different countries. In Eastern Europe and the Middle East, more than 900 MetLife associates in 19 countries volunteered their time to provide young people with financial education courses. In all, MetLife associates donated more than 72,000 hours of time—11 percent more than last year—and engaged in the Foundation’s work as never before.

As we enter the second half of our five-year strategic plan, MetLife Foundation is on track against targets, disbursing nearly $100 million against our five-year goal of $200 million. Our portfolio continues to become more international in scope as well. But regardless of geography or size of disbursement, project type or specific tactics, MetLife Foundation’s guiding principle remains the same. We work with partners driven to understand what customers need—and why—and then to deliver it conveniently, affordably, and efficiently.

On behalf of the Foundation’s board and staff, thank you for your support of our work. 

Review the complete MetLife Foundation 2015 Annual Report here 



Keywords: Research, Reports & Publications | A. Dennis White | Annual Report 2015 | metlife foundation

CAMPAIGN: MetLife Foundation Annual Report 2015

CONTENT: Article