NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MetLife Foundation and Verb announced Onward Financial as the first place winner of the Inclusion Plus competition in the United States. The competition was open to entrepreneurs, non-profits and other social impact organizations focused on addressing the financial health needs of low- to moderate-income Americans. Standing out among more than 150 entries, Onward Financial received a $100,000 grant from MetLife Foundation.
Onward Financial is offered as an employee benefit, and provides an app for workers to save effortlessly, build financial literacy and access responsible credit when emergencies strike, such as a car repair bill or unexpected medical expenses. Similar to how a 401(k) program assists with saving for long-term financial stability, Onward’s savings programs help low- to moderate-income workers build short-term savings and create better financial habits.
"Our team is beyond grateful for this opportunity,” said Onward Founder and CEO Ronnie Washington, Jr. “It's been wonderful getting to know the other finalists, working with MetLife mentors and engaging with the judges during the final pitches. We’re thrilled to have the support of MetLife Foundation behind us as we seek to expand our financial wellness program to more employees across the U.S. We’ll do that by integrating with a broader set of payroll providers to make offering the app easy and seamless for employers of all sizes.”
“MetLife Foundation sees the competition model as an effective mechanism to identify and elevate innovations that are helping people improve their financial lives,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “Through this work, we support organizations like Onward Financial at the forefront of financial health in the United States, and around the world.”
Additional grant recipients in the U.S. competition include:
- Second place: Oxygen offers freelancers and independent contractors who have uneven cash flow access to credit, working capital loans and free mobile banking.
- Third place: EARN, whose flagship platform, SaverLife, combines financial rewards for saving with motivational digital financial coaching to encourage a regular savings habit and help families build a financial cushion.
- Runner up: Benefit Kitchen’s new program, Censerio, uses data analytics tools to help ensure working poor Americans can participate fully in the economy and unlock benefits they need to promote greater health and build financial security.
- Runner up: PYT Funds connects families and banks to provide new solutions to fund higher education.
The U.S.-based competition represents the culmination of a three-year program that included nine prior competitions. Inclusion Plus engaged nearly 500 organizations across Ireland, China, India, Mexico, Egypt, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Spain, Portugal, Australia, South Korea and the U.S.; MetLife employee volunteers dedicated over 8,000 hours as judges and mentors; and MetLife Foundation provided nearly $1 million in grant funding to accelerate the impact that 50 entrepreneurial organizations have on building a more financially inclusive world.
To learn more about the competitions, visit inclusionplus.com.
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 6 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/.