MetLife Foundation and ‘The Financial Inclusion Challenge’ Seek Best Solutions for Financial Access Across Asia
Thursday, March 3, 2016
MetLife Foundation announced today its exclusive sponsorship of the second year of The Financial Inclusion Challenge. The Challenge, sponsored by MetLife Foundation and managed by The Wall Street Journal, is a competition encouraging nonprofit and for-profit organizations to showcase programs that provide innovative, sustainable solutions for individuals and families struggling to be part of the financial mainstream. Winners will be recognized at an awards dinner in Hong Kong later this year.
In addition to The Financial Inclusion Challenge, The Wall Street Journal has launched the second phase of Financing the Future, an editorial initiative which provides news and insights about the world’s 2 billion people who are largely excluded from banking, lending, insurance, credit, investing and other basic financial services.
“At MetLife, one of our core beliefs is that people should have access to the financial tools they need to live a prosperous life,” said Chris Townsend, president of MetLife Asia, and a MetLife Foundation Board Member. “This belief has inspired MetLife Foundation’s focus on financial inclusion, which has a significant and far-reaching impact in our growing region.”
In addition to The Challenge, MetLife Foundation in collaboration with WSJ. Custom Studios, will host for a second year a thought leadership website called Multipliers of Prosperity. This rich, multi-media content hub brings life to the issue of financial inclusion through video, infographics, and original content.
Multipliers of Prosperity has resulted in engaging thought leaders, practitioners and policy makers on the opportunities and challenges facing the financially excluded. In particular, the editorial series, Financing the Future, has resulted in increased engagement on the topic with influencers like Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation, Tory Burch Foundation, FINCA and others.
“Highlighting what financial stability can do to propel people out of poverty is an important story for our newsroom and a crucial factor in the development of nations across Asia,” said Paul Beckett, Asia Editor of The Wall Street Journal. “We look forward to bringing our reporting expertise to illustrate these issues over the next six months.”
In 2016, Financing the Future will focus on three new areas – women and microfinance; digitizing payments and the intersection of venture capital and financial inclusion. New features on Multipliers of Prosperity will include a video series, photo galleries, an interactive map and original content by an award-winning journalist.
“We believe this project with The Wall Street Journal and WSJ. Custom Studios has helped us point the spotlight on what’s working, what needs attention, and solutions to help more people achieve their full financial potential,” said Dennis White, president and chief executive officer of MetLife Foundation.
Some significant achievements from the 2015 initiative include recognizing three winners of The Financial Inclusion Challenge – Shanghai F-road Commercial Services, Telenor Pakistan and Kiva – organizations working to provide financial solutions focused on mobile banking and microfinance for the underserved and unbanked. Production of a new editorial series by The Wall Street Journal in Asia, Financing the Future, which resulted in 35,572 social shares and engagement with influencers whose tweets reached more than 50 million followers. The creation of a thought leadership website which helped raise awareness on the topic of financial inclusion with 108,904 page views and 15,886 social shares and, the Silver Midas Award for ‘A Dispatch from India,’ a short film highlighting the work of Ujjivan, a microfinance institution and partner of MetLife Foundation in India.
In 2013, MetLife Foundation committed $200 million over five years toward advancing financial inclusion around the world. To date, it has committed more than $103 million toward that goal, with more than $30 million invested in programs advancing financial inclusion in Asia. The Foundation’s strategy, which includes sourcing diverse, high-impact portfolio of partners and developing signature programs, aims to have significant impact in communities around the world.