Volunteering for Impact

2020 SUSTAINABILITY REPORT : Collapsed

Globally, our employees contribute to their communities in diverse ways year-round, supporting education, the environment, and financial health. In 2020, volunteering shifted from in-person projects to initiatives employees could do safely from home. Partnering with nonprofits to advance racial justice and opportunity and respond to COVID-19 was a focus. Guided by our purpose and motivated by a commitment to make a difference, we reported more volunteers than in 2019.

Volunteering With Purpose: 90 Days of Giving

In MetLife’s first global virtual volunteer initiative, employees lived our purpose by volunteering for projects focused on helping vulnerable children, families, and communities. MetLife Foundation donated to four nonprofits—Together We Rise, Save the Children, Helping Hands, and Special Olympics—which offered simple, hands-on volunteer projects that employees could do safely from home, often with their family. Nearly 10,000 employees in 39 markets volunteered, making Volunteering with Purpose MetLife’s largest volunteer effort to date. Some snapshots:

U.S.: First-Night Kits for Kids in Foster Care With Together We Rise
When a child enters the U.S. foster care system for the first time or moves from home to home, they are often handed a trash bag to pack their possessions. MetLife Foundation made a donation to nonprofit Together We Rise, which provided duffle bags filled with supplies to replace these garbage bags. MetLife volunteers added their creativity by decorating the bag’s panels with special pictures and encouraging messages—all to help transform the way thousands of kids experience foster care.

Global: Writing Virtual Letters With Save the Children 
Immediate and long-term threats of COVID-19 will likely impact an entire generation, and the poorest and most marginalized communities were among the hardest hit. Save the Children supplied medical and hygiene supplies and preparedness training to help prevent the spread of infection in such communities worldwide. MetLife Foundation’s donation helped them continue this work. In addition, MetLife volunteers wrote letters—in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic—to bring encouragement—and a smile—to children in these communities. Mexico led all countries in the campaign, with volunteers writing almost 700 letters for Save the Children’s Yucatan program.

Asia and EMEA: Assembling Sports Backpacks and Building Prosthetics
When the pandemic forced the closure of schools and facilities, it also halted in-person Special Olympics programming for Young Athletes, children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. With many families lacking access to technology, MetLife partnered with Special Olympics to create athletic backpacks with tools to engage Young Athletes and resources for their parents to support their children’s health and well-being during the pandemic. Volunteers assembled the kits, often creating inspirational messages and cheerful drawings for the children. Employees also volunteered for the Odyssey Teams Helping Hands program, assembling prosthetic hands and decorating carrying cases for amputees living in developing countries.

90 Days of Giving: By the Numbers

Nearly 10,000
total employee volunteers

2,489
letters written globally for Save the Children
2,407
duffle bags for foster care youth decorated: Together We Rise (U.S.)
603
prosthetic hands assembled: Odyssey Teams/Helping Hands (Asia/EMEA)
977
sports backpacks assembled: Special Olympics (Asia/EMEA)
3,457
employees participated
in local projects

2020

nearly 60,000

hours spent volunteering

21,123

employee volunteers

39

markets

Virtual Volunteering in Korea

With the decline of in-person volunteer opportunities, MetLife Korea Foundation pivoted early in the year to an Un-tact program, or virtual programming, running four virtual and home-based volunteer activities throughout the year that engaged nearly 8,000 volunteers, including employees, sales agents, and customers. Activities included:

  • 1,800+ volunteers made masks and distributed sanitizers;
  • 1,400+ volunteers created and distributed braille books that teach blind children the shapes and names of musical instruments;
  • Nearly 1,600 volunteers planted trees for seniors living alone—volunteers received a tree planting kit at home and shared pictures of themselves planting the tree with the hashtag #HealingGiftChallenge. For every picture shared, a plant was donated to a senior citizen, with over 800 receiving one; and
  • 3,000+ volunteers joined the Walk to Help virtual fundraiser, raising approximately $45,000 for low-income seniors, with every step generating a 1 cent donation by Korea Foundation.
EMEA employee, Fadia Nasreddine Chamas, participates in the Helping Hands program.

Virtual Volunteering in Mexico

After volunteering in person at the start of the year, MetLife Mexico shifted to virtual volunteering in March with the support of 1,030+ volunteers. Activities included:

  • 650+ volunteers, including associates, agents, and sales promoters, wrote letters to vulnerable children, sending positive messages;
  • 180+ volunteers improved the facilities of schools;
  • 60+ volunteers visited hospitals as ‘laugh doctors’ and another 30+ conducted virtual laugh doctor visits;
  • 40+ mentored entrepreneurs improving their business models to promote health and financial health programs; and
  • 10+ volunteers facilitated workshops for high school students to encourage them to have healthy personal finances.
Through MetLife Foundation partner Nippon Foundation, children dance to bring joy to a home-care nursing center in Japan pre-pandemic.

Japan: Virtual Volunteering to Celebrate CSR Month

MetLife Japan also celebrated CSR Month in October 2020 with the launch of a new CSR strategy under the slogan of “One MetLife—Act Together Now for Our Community,” along with a wide range of virtual activities in keeping with its focus on the elderly and children. Partnering with four nonprofits—Nippon Foundation, Habitat for Humanity Japan, Save the Children Japan, and Shine On Kids—online information sessions were coordinated to learn more about the challenges being faced by our seniors and children. Employees volunteered virtually to participate in activities that supported frontline workers who help the elderly and children on the ground. In addition, community activities included sewing mask cases, assembling kits for children with disabilities, organizing a live music performance for hospitalized children, and participating in a book donation drive.

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