Episode 51: Unmasking Fidelity

A coalition of local and national organizations is challenging Fidelity Charitable in what they describe as its role in funneling millions of dollars in systemic oppression.

Unmasking Fidelity was created after a 2019 exposé by nonprofit news outlet Sludge. It revealed anonymous donor-advised funds (DAFs) contributed millions to organizations identified as “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Some of those groups have taken issue with that designation over the years.

Unmasking Fidelity’s latest report, The People Disclose, highlights 10 organizations that “represent a cross-section of tax-exempt nonprofits furthering various forms of systemic oppression” that have received financial support from Fidelity Charitable.

Nadav David is New England regional organizer at Resource Generation, and Ramah Kudaimi is campaign director of Crescendo at the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE). They join this episode to explain who are the groups that make up Unmasking Fidelity and what it is they’re asking from the nation’s largest grantmaker. The coalition has called on Fidelity Charitable to publicly disclose all contributions and related fees over the last five years to the 10 organizations. They also asked that Fidelity share publicly its policies or screens that are used to determine which organizations can receive DAF grants.

“We’re not interested in engaging around individual donors, we’re interested in challenging the way in which this has become a system that causes violence,” said David, describing Resource Generation as focused on organizing young people with access to wealth.

“This is not a both sides issue,” Kudaimi said. “This is an issue of power and where our values should be at.”

A spokesperson for Fidelity Charitable said it does not comment on individual nonprofits or donors but pointed to the grantmaking review process and guidelines found on its website. A representative of Alliance Defending Freedom, one of the groups identified in Unmasking Fidelity’s report, published a column in the Wall Street Journal in January in response to their demands of Fidelity Charitable.