Organization: The Fidelity Foundations

Location: Greater Boston Area, U.S.

Express Interest

About The Fidelity Foundations:

The Fidelity Foundations are a group of charitable organizations that fund a diverse set of philanthropies on a national and international scale. Areas of interest include education, arts and culture, health care, science, land conservation and social services.  In addition, the Fidelity Foundations fund nonprofit organizations which strengthen the communities in which Fidelity Investments employees live and work.

Foundation grants are designed to encourage the highest standards of management and to create long-term self-reliance in nonprofit organizations.  Taking an investment approach to grantmaking, the Foundations fund organizations with a goal of adding lasting, measurable value.  The Foundations seek to support major initiatives that nonprofits undertake to reach new levels of achievement.

The Foundations were established with several operating principles in mind. These principles guide its decisions and grantmaking 50 years later:

Strengthening Nonprofit Organizations

The Fidelity Foundations’ grant program was designed to strengthen the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit institutions.  The types of projects the Fidelity Foundations fund, and the way in which they fund them, are specifically intended to help nonprofits build the organizational capabilities they need to better fulfill their missions and serve their constituencies.

Approaching Grants as Investments

The Fidelity Foundations view their philanthropy as an investment — not just of financial resources, but also of their business skills and experience.  In considering each proposal, the Fidelity Foundations apply the fundamentals of investing: they carefully examine each aspect of an organization’s project idea, management team and financial situation before committing resources to ensure a grant can achieve tangible results.

Leveraging Resources

The Fidelity Foundations seek to leverage resources wherever possible.  Often this is accomplished by offering challenge and matching grants that encourage nonprofits to seek and secure other funding partners.  The Fidelity Foundations draw on their own business experience by working with grantees to develop performance measures that help determine whether a grant accomplishes its intended purpose. As the Foundations gain information from funded projects, it informs work on future projects in similar fields.  The Foundations also utilize their contacts to put present grantees in touch with former grantees that have faced similar issues.

Commitment to Excellence and Innovation

The Fidelity Foundations’ grant program seeks to reflect Fidelity Investments’ commitment to quality and continuous improvement.  The Foundations look for projects representing creative and innovative means of advancing an organization or focus area and strive to remain flexible and opportunistic through a competitive selection process.

Fidelity Investments’ Chairman Emeritus, Edward C. Johnson 3d, and his father, the founder of the company, established the Fidelity Foundation in 1965, launching decades of charitable investing and laying the groundwork for many future philanthropic endeavors.

The grantmaking program is conducted by professional staff under the leadership of the President. The approach has been through quiet giving, in which publicity is not sought, confidentiality is critical, and most grants are awarded anonymously.

The Fidelity Foundations have a strong presence in the greater Boston area.  The primary offices are in Salem, New Hampshire, 40 minutes north of Boston and immediately over the Massachusetts border.  The majority of Fidelity Foundations employees live in Boston or the surrounding suburbs.

For more information on the Fidelity Foundations, please visit

The Opportunity:

The Senior Program Officer is a senior member of the Fidelity Foundations program staff, which develops, manages, and evaluates philanthropic investments as part of a portfolio (total assets in excess of $2B) focused on effective management in nonprofit organizations. The Senior Program Officer provides grantmaking expertise and leadership, representing the Fidelity Foundations and its Trustees to prospective and existing grantees, philanthropic, and local communities.

With the hiring of a new President earlier this year, the Foundations are at an important and exciting inflection point. The Senior Program Officer will work closely with the President to provide thought leadership around strategic direction setting, long-term portfolio development and evaluation techniques.

The Senior Program Officer is also responsible for developing and implementing grantmaking strategies and budgeting/pipeline planning in specified grant markets or sectors, managing his/her own diverse portfolio of grants. S/he will partner closely with Trustees to assist them in developing their philanthropic areas of focus and corresponding philanthropic strategies.

This position requires that the Senior Program Officer develop subject matter expertise in the Foundations’ general funding areas as well as areas of specific interest (organizational development and technology for nonprofit organizations, among others). The Senior Program Officer will also follow media and literature, attend industry meetings, participate in industry initiatives, conduct research, etc.

The Senior Program Officer will work closely with grantees and potential grantees on proposal development and review, conduct extensive research and sector analysis for a range of interest areas, and develop and present detailed grant recommendations to senior management and Trustees.

Internally, the Senior Program officer will work to promote team-building and will play a key role in the mentoring of program staff.

Other responsibilities include:

  • Provide high-level consulting to organizations, including organizational development and planning;
  • Respond to incoming inquiries to the Foundations;
  • Review a range of proposals, up to and including seven-figure requests;
  • Develop and refine pre-proposals in specific areas of Trustee interest;
  • Initiate and develop relationships with appropriate contacts in the community;
  • Communicate with current and prospective grantees;
  • Manage conditional/contingent grants; and
  • Evaluate each grant’s effectiveness against stated objectives and overall portfolio effectiveness.

The Senior Program Officer independently interacts with and ultimately manages long-term grantee relationships through:

  • Periodically reviewing ongoing activities;
  • Ensuring ongoing communication with grantees;
  • Reviewing financial results against budget;
  • Monitoring ongoing projects;
  • Sharing pertinent information across organizations as appropriate; and
  • Applying advanced influencing skills to effect outcomes outside of the Foundations.

Candidate Profile:

The Senior Program Officer will possess the following professional and personal skills, attributes and competencies:

Relationship Building and Collaborating

The Senior Program Officer must be able to build and sustain excellent relationships internally with the Trustees, staff, and external stakeholders. A natural collaborator, s/he will be a demonstrated team player and will be seen as a trusted advisor to grantees and partner organizations. S/he will successfully develop partnerships outside the organization to advance the Trustees’ strategic priorities.

Leading Through Influence

The Senior Program Officer will have a deep appreciation for the nuances of multigenerational family foundations and philanthropy. S/he will possess exceptionally strong interpersonal skills and be able to articulate and convey the Foundations’ priorities to a range of constituents. S/he will have humility and agility and will be able to navigate the Trustees’ multiple priorities, knowing when to change direction and focus. S/he will be seen as an

expert and will express his or her opinions thoughtfully, helping to guide the Trustees to consensus. S/he will have strength of character to work effectively with other strong leaders in positive partnership.

Critical Thinking and Intellectual Curiosity

The Senior Program Officer will exhibit intellectual curiosity and the ability to think creatively and collaboratively about the Fidelity Foundations’ broad goals while remaining focused on details and follow-through. S/he will have experience developing and implementing evaluation frameworks and an ability to help set strategic objectives and balance multiple priorities. S/he will have superior research and analytical skills and will be seen as the eyes and ears on the ground for the Foundations and Trustees, sharing relevant research and findings. S/he will have excellent communication skills, including the ability to write clearly and succinctly under time pressure and to make well-organized, strong verbal presentations.

Integrity and Trust

The Senior Program Officer will have a deep appreciation for the Foundations’ commitment to philanthropy. S/he will stay true to the values of the Foundations, inspiring and motivating others to embody these values. The ideal candidate is an individual of high integrity, ethical standards and one who can maintain confidentiality.


  • Bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree preferred;
  • 10+ years of grantmaking and/or relevant nonprofit experience preferred;
  • Possess solid strategic, tactical, and financial analytical skills;
  • Developed areas of special knowledge or expertise;
  • General management and project management experience required;
  • High level of interpersonal skills, a team player who is diplomatic and able to negotiate and build consensus;
  • Effective communication skills, including the ability to deliver effective oral and written presentations internally and externally; and
  • Sound judgment, integrity, and respect for confidentiality are absolute requirements.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners, a national retained executive search firm that works with mission-driven clients, has been exclusively retained for this search. To make recommendations on candidates or express interest in the opportunity, please email Alison P. Ranney and Anne B. McCarthy at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.