56 representation—we had the presidents from the different regions on the board, and so it became a much more global organization. And as MetLife was changing, we thought it was time to rethink the foundation’s work—what we were doing, and where we were doing it. So we went through a strategic review of our activities, and considered a lot of different work—some related to the work we were already doing in the aging space, some in the affordable housing area and even medical research. But we ultimately decided that working in financial inclusion was a good alignment with the company and with our global footprint and with the needs of low-income communities. So in 2013 we decided to focus 60 to 70 percent of our resources on financial inclusion. We continued to do important work across areas like health, education, arts and culture, but we really began to focus purposefully on financial inclusion. As for the broad changes we’ve seen in financial inclusion: For me, when I look at the field, obviously technology is having a big impact, like all other areas of society. Mobile phones are providing access to financial services that couldn’t even be imagined years ago—so that’s a big change. In some of the countries where we work, national governments have embraced financial inclusion and are launching programs with that focus, whether it’s in India or Mexico. And we’ll see how those succeed—I think there are some strengths, and some challenges, in those programs, so that’s another change. And there’s also a better appreciation that people need to use financial services in order to understand them, and to benefit from them. So we’re very much a proponent of what we call “edu-action”: interacting with the financial service sector or product to the benefit of the low- income customer, rather than sitting in a classroom and learning about it. So those are some trends and areas we’re focused on. Militzer: According to your 2016 Annual Report, the MetLife Foundation made USD 43 million in contributions, with 70 percent going toward financial inclusion grants. How does the foundation prioritize these contributions in terms of nonprofits vs. for- profit businesses? And has the way the foundation allocates funding changed, as financial inclusion products and services have matured or gathered momentum among consumers? White: We work with both nonprofits and for-profits, but there are definitely many more nonprofits in the portfolio, which you would expect. But it’s not so much a prioritization of nonprofits or for-profits, it’s really about finding the programs that work. We have worked with some for-profit institutions that have a broad or large customer base, and that has been intentional, because we really want to be able to reach low-income people with good financial products and services and have a win-win for the financial institution, too. And some of the for-profits fall into that category, while the nonprofits are sometimes a bit smaller and don’t have the same reach. So that desire for scale and reach has pushed us to some for-profit partners. We’re also doing more on the digital side to reach customers, and a behavioral economics approach is also being woven into our work for better reach, and that work is being done with both nonprofits and for-profits. Militzer: Could you mention a few of the for-profit companies you work with? White: Sure, we have a program called OPTIX, with BankableFrontierAssociates,andthey’redoingsomework with Banco WWB in Colombia, a commercial bank. The OPTIX project also includes Acreimex in Mexico (a financial co-op), CEP in Vietnam (an MFI), and Sajida Foundation in Bangladesh (also an MFI). All these institutions—whether they are a for-profit, nonprofit, co-op or MFI—are reaching a relatively large number of customers, which we like, and are much different organizations than the foundation would have supported just a few years ago. We are also the lead funder of Common Cents Lab out of Duke University. Common Cents is providing technical assistance in behavioral economics to both for-profit and nonprofit groups here in the U.S. Again, a much different approach for us but we are looking for the best groups in financial inclusion or financial health and their organizational structure matters less. Militzer: MetLife Foundation has made considerable investments focused on solving urban problems— does your impact investing work also extend to financial inclusion, and if so, where are these investments focused?