Common Impact Blog

Impact Inspirations: Fidelity Investments Program

By Molly Weinstein | Apr 27, 2016

One of the Common Impact initiatives that best exemplifies shared value is its program with the Fidelity Investments Workplace Investing (WI) business. The program offers a unique experiential learning and leadership development opportunity for WI’s senior level associates and delivers tangible, long-term impact for its nonprofit beneficiaries. In 5 years, the program has supported 78 of WI’s strongest talent and future leaders in their career development and yielded a community investment valued at $1,334,725.

Common Impact team member, Molly Weinstein shares her take on how Fidelity’ Workplace Investing’s skills-based volunteering program returns tangible, bilateral value.

1. What is the secret to a successful partnership like this one?

This program matches teams of senior level employees from across business areas with a cross-functional, strategic challenge at a local nonprofit organization. The program is a collaboration between Common Impact, and Fidelity’s Community Relations group, Human Resources team, and  WI business unit – meaning it is an extremely well-supported and well-designed program. Fidelity Community Relations makes the connection to exemplary nonprofits whose work has a significant impact on the broader community.  Fidelity’s HR department helps to select a project each year that will stretch the participating employees in critical growth areas. The business sponsor ties HR’s talent objectives back to the broader business goals and supports the team’s work through executive coaching. And Common Impact is the glue that holds it all together.

The program is so successful precisely because of its shared value premise. Fidelity has connected the dotted lines between social initiatives, human capital development, and business success and we are seeing tremendous returns in the form of business benefits and social change!

2. How has the Workplace Investing program model positively impacted both the corporate and nonprofit sector?

The high-performing employees who are selected to participate in the WI program are granted a unique opportunity to stretch themselves in a dynamic environment with multifaceted, relevant challenges. Employees build the skills needed to excel in their careers, including business skills such as complex problem-solving and end-to-end strategy implementation and “soft skills” such as communication, collaboration, people development, personal effectiveness, and executive presence. The program cultivates a talent pool with keen business acumen and a passion for social impact and connects Fidelity’s next generation of leaders with one another.

The program focuses on business strategy projects within the nonprofit sector, such as strategic plans, feasibility studies for organizational expansion, or business models for new initiatives. Change capital, which allows nonprofits to undertake these broad strategic initiatives, is typically the most difficult type of funding for organizations to come by. Therefore, the WI projects fill a critical gap for our most innovative, forward-thinking nonprofits by allowing them to proactively hone their business model to better address important community challenges. On average, our WI projects deliver from $140,000-$170,000 in social investment.

3. What project are you currently working on and how will it impact the community?

This year’s team is working with the Boys and Girls Club of Souhegan Valley (BGCSV) to develop a business plan for their upcoming facility expansion. Their staff’s focus has been on fundraising and planning for the expansion, so they have had limited opportunity to consider what will happen once the new gymnasium and teen center are built. This is where the Fidelity team comes in! They are working to identify community needs and to develop a business plan that will allow BGCSV to meet those needs in an effective and fiscally sustainable way.

The programmatic, operational, and business recommendations the team develops will enable BGCSV to serve a greater number of kids and to reach a new demographic in real need of their services. BGCSV already serves about 20% of the school-aged children in Souhegan Valley - the Fidelity team is helping them to touch an even larger percentage of their community with enhanced and expanded opportunities for growth and learning.