Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative grants $6.4 million to strengthen social sector infrastructure

Initiative shifts its strategy to focus on the support systems charities need to accomplish their missions

BOSTON, MA, September 3, 2019 – Today Fidelity Charitable released its 2019 Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative Impact Report, which details the $6.4 million the program granted to organizations working to shore up the infrastructure of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, an area that is essential to the community at large while also being one of the most underfunded.  The Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative is a direct grantmaking program separate from the Fidelity Charitable donor-advised fund program.

The 23 grants made in the last fiscal year, totaling $6.4 million, provided funding for the shared resources, information, networks, research and advocacy that all donors and nonprofits need to achieve their intended impact. This year’s grantmaking strategy shift comes as a result of the initiative’s recent research to assess infrastructure funding needs. Recognizing that nonprofits often need long-term support for effective outcomes, 40 percent of this year’s grants are multi-year commitments. 

“The important work of charities, whether their missions are to educate, advocate, cure disease, aid a population in need, preserve cultural heritage or provide spiritual support, relies on a solid foundation,” said Pamela Norley, President, Fidelity Charitable.  “Just as roads and bridges provide critical structures to support society, nonprofits need infrastructure to support their frontline work of doing good in the world.”

Two key pillars form the grantmaking strategy for the Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative:

  • Enhancing individual donors’ ability to make effective and informed giving decisions
    Seven organizations received grants in the 2018-2019 fiscal year to help individual donors make more effective philanthropy decisions.  These organizations create resources and provide information that donors need to make informed decisions about charitable giving and volunteering.  For example, VolunteerMatch is a national nonprofit working to connect volunteers with charities that rely on this support.  The grant from the Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative will help develop an open technology platform for businesses to connect their employees with meaningful volunteer opportunities.
  • Strengthening intermediaries and networks that provide information, research and advocacy needed by nonprofits to achieve their intended impact
    Building nonprofit capacity
    Leadership development, financial management and technology skills are essential for nonprofits to do their work more effectively.  These services are often provided by nonprofit intermediaries, who are well-positioned to reach charities across the country and create a ripple effect of positive change.  The Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative made grants to five such intermediary organizations in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, including to Propel Nonprofits, which provides Midwest nonprofits with guidance, expertise and capital.

    Developing research and policy analysis
    One of the greatest challenges facing many nonprofits is a lack of access to rigorous research and policy analysis on issues affecting the sector.  The Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative provided funds to organizations working to help charities understand and respond to policies and regulations related to nonprofit work.  For example, the initiative made grants to Independent Sector, a national nonprofit that provides research and analysis on federal policies and tax law changes that impact charities.

    Enabling greater collaboration among nonprofits

    Greater coordination and data sharing among charities can amplify the impact of their limited resources and increase their efficiency.  The Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative made grants to several organizations that support strategic collaboration among nonprofits.  For example, a grant to the CDC Foundation will help develop a blueprint for a Global Health Crisis Coordination Center to align government, private and philanthropic organizations in the aftermath of public health emergencies.    

Flexibility in giving

The Fidelity Charitable Trustee’s Initiative also made grants to support disaster recovery efforts and facilitated an associate-led grantmaking program, which distributed four $25,000 grants to charities selected by Fidelity Charitable associates.

The Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative report on gaps in infrastructure in the social sector, which provides the basis for the shift in grantmaking strategy, can be found here:

The Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative is a direct grantmaking program, separate from the Fidelity Charitable donor-advised fund, whose mission is to expand charitable giving and advance the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.

About Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 278,000 nonprofit organizations with more than $35 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to grow the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving accessible, simple and effective. For more information about Fidelity Charitable, visit

Want to learn more?

Explore other news and resources, or reach out to us for a media inquiry.