NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MetLife Foundation and Verb announced today the launch of Inclusion Plus in the United States as part of a global competition for entrepreneurs, nonprofits and other social impact organizations focused on addressing the financial health needs of low- to moderate-income people.
The competition is open to organizations that propose innovative solutions for empowering the 57 percent of Americans who struggle financially and are unable to pay bills on time each month, build savings or manage financial shocks and emergencies.1 Organizations advancing to the semifinal round will be paired with MetLife employee volunteers who will serve as mentors, contributing hundreds of volunteer hours collectively by helping the organizations develop and refine their business pitches. Finalists will then compete at a closing event in October for a total of $150,000 in grant funding from MetLife Foundation.
“We recognize that with the right financial knowledge and tools, people are better able to effectively manage their day-to-day cash flow needs, navigate life’s inevitable challenges and take advantage of opportunities,” said Michel Khalaf, president of the U.S. Business and EMEA for MetLife and a member of MetLife Foundation’s Board. “MetLife has provided people with financial security and protection for 150 years. MetLife Foundation’s programs like Inclusion Plus are driving innovative solutions for low- to moderate-income populations so that all people, regardless of income level, can reach their goals and achieve sustainable financial well-being.”
“Our goal is to help our clients build social innovation ecosystems,” said Verb CEO Suzi Sosa. “Financial health is a complex problem that cannot be solved by any single solution. Our social impact engagement platform enables us to connect entrepreneurs, investors, corporate partners, mentors and thousands of people from the public. By strengthening this network, we don’t just find one great idea; we actually strengthen the innovation ecosystem.”
The U.S.-based competition represents the culmination of a three-year program that included nine prior competitions. By year-end, Inclusion Plus will have engaged nearly 500 organizations across Ireland, China, India, Mexico, Egypt, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Spain, Portugal, Australia, South Korea and the U.S.; MetLife employee volunteers will have dedicated over 8,000 hours as judges and mentors; and MetLife Foundation will have provided nearly $1 million in grant funding to accelerate the impact that 50 entrepreneurial organizations have on building a more financially inclusive world.
The final event of Inclusion Plus will have finalists from all ten competitions convene at a global summit in New York City. They will be joined by thought leaders in the field of financial inclusion and will participate in design-thinking and behavioral economics workshops and cross-border learning sessions—with the goal of continuing to develop, refine and deliver their products and services to improve the financial health of millions of people globally.
MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates (“MetLife”), is one of the world’s leading financial services companies, providing insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management to help its individual and institutional customers navigate their changing world. Founded in 1868, MetLife has operations in more than 40 countries and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit http://www.metlife.com.
About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since its founding through the end of 2017, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $783 million in grants and $70 million in program-related investments to organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. In 2013, the Foundation committed $200 million to financial inclusion, and our work to date has reached more than 3.5 million low-income individuals in 42 countries. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit metlife.org.
About Verb, Inc.
Verb is a social enterprise that produces global social entrepreneurship competitions and delivers employee engagement in partnership with companies, foundations and governments. Verb competitions mobilize thousands of teams from around the world to solve the planet's most pressing social and environmental problems. Founded in 2013 by Austin entrepreneurs Suzi Sosa and Tom Meredith, Verb leverages its online platform, innovation expertise, and entrepreneur network to produce a social innovation engagement experience unlike any other. For more information, visit www.verb.net/.
1 Center for Financial Services Innovation (https://cfsinnovation.org/research/financial-health/)