How Fidelity Charitable is responding to COVID-19

Lifesaver floating in the water

As the nation’s largest grantmaker, Fidelity Charitable is committed to supporting the nonprofit sector and the communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to enabling our nearly quarter million donors to respond effectively to the many needs emerging daily.

Here are a few of the key ways we are working to support hard-hit communities in a time of uncertainty, both by facilitating our donors’ support through our donor-advised fund program and with direct funding through the Fidelity Charitable Catalyst Fund (“Catalyst Fund”).

Direct funding for relief and nonprofit support

The Catalyst Fund has committed at least $1 million to support coronavirus response efforts, focusing on both medical needs and community safety, and importantly, to help sustain the nonprofit sector through the difficult period ahead. The Catalyst Fund is a direct grantmaking program, separate from Fidelity Charitable's donor-advised fund program, that makes grants focused on social sector infrastructure.

  • Catalyst Fund funding to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Foundation will support immediate medical needs and public health response—including helping the CDC to continue delivering needed funding to state and local health departments on the front lines.

    Past Catalyst Fund funding has also supported projects that are now activating in response to COVID-19. For example, a 2019 grant helped the CDC Foundation develop plans for a Global Health Crisis Coordination Center in Atlanta—which is being launched now to help manage the COVID-19 crisis. The center coordinates the movement of resources and information between government, corporate and philanthropic entities who are responding to the crisis. 
  • In addition to medical relief focused on community safety, the Catalyst Fund has also committed funds to help bolster the ongoing health of nonprofits. Many nonprofits are straining to respond to an increased demand for their services as a result of COVID-19. Additionally, many nonprofits are at risk of sharp revenue declines that could have a severe impact on their operations. A Catalyst Fund grant to the Nonprofit Finance Fund will support a “recovery fund” for nonprofits to help them get through the crisis. 
  • Additional funds will support local nonprofits critical to response efforts in hard-hit communities across the country. We will work with the communities and local foundations to help where it is needed most.

“The Catalyst Fund continues to focus its funding strategy on strengthening the infrastructure of the nonprofit sector, but these extraordinary circumstances require us to do more to immediately support the urgent needs created by this crisis,” said Catherine D’Amato, Fidelity Charitable Catalyst Fund Chair. “The nonprofit community needs effective infrastructure funding to create capacity, communications channels and platforms that allow nonprofits to respond to the crisis and to ensure continuity for themselves and those they serve. We are committed to acting quickly to provide much-needed support.”

Guidance and resources for donors

Our donor-advised fund program provides a way for donors to make a difference—creating a “ready reserve” for when disaster strikes. But when that time comes, it is often difficult for the public to sift through the noise and understand how to give as effectively as possible.

We are focused on helping our donors and the public at large identify the most impactful ways they can donate, use their talents and harness their voices to help others affected by this crisis. Our giving guidance for COVID-19, which we are updating regularly, encourages donors to contribute to organizations that:

  • Support medical needs: Organizations providing immediate medical assistance, such as protective supplies, equipment and portable clinics, as well as organizations working on the development of therapeutics, diagnostics and vaccines.
  • Protect vulnerable populations: Nonprofits that provide safety net services to vulnerable populations, such as food banks and homeless shelters.
  • Sustain all nonprofits: We are encouraging donors to continue or increase their support to the organizations they care about to help sustain them through difficult times. Additionally, donors may want to consider giving to nonprofit intermediary organizations that build and sustain the nonprofit sector by providing critical technological, research and coordination services.

In addition to providing general guidance, we are also working to provide customized support to Private Donor Group and corporate account holders to structure significant, meaningful donations.

“The Fidelity Charitable donor community has proved time and time again that they are ready and willing to respond when their communities are hurting,” said Elaine Martyn, Vice President and Managing Director, Private Donor Group. “Our donors will no doubt display this enduring compassion in response to this crisis, as well—and we will continue to provide guidance and leadership that helps them maximize the impact of their generosity.”

How to help with COVID-19

We are continually monitoring the situation and will update our COVID-19 giving guidance as circumstances change and new information comes available. 

How Fidelity Charitable can help

Since 1991, we have been a leader in charitable planning and giving solutions, helping donors like you support their favorite charities in smart ways.

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