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Independent research, analysis and consulting

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Fidelity Investments

Social Investment Strategy
When Fidelity Investments opened its first facility in India, an IT development center in Bangalore, the company readily understood its social responsibility to the underprivileged population. It also realized that its long-term growth plans in this highly competitive tech region depended on securing top technical talent, whose loyalty would turn in part on the company’s image as a contributor to their society. With no previous experience in social investments in the country, Fidelity turned to Jonathan Levine for initial groundwork on the highly fragmented social sector in India, including counsel on strategies for effectively leveraging funding in support of its workforce development plans and recommendations on prospective partner organizations.

From interviews with dozens of India-based social-sector professionals and U.S.-based corporate philanthropy executives working in India, and a survey of primary research studies in the field, Jon’s analysis included the following components:

  • the historical context of philanthropy in India;
  • a dissection of the giving channels, structural tensions and organizational challenges in the social sector;
  • benchmarking data on competitors’ programs and spending levels in the Bangalore region, including profiles on the social-investment activities of 14 companies;
  • a breakdown of leading social needs and their relative attention from corporate philanthropy;
  • a briefing on cultural, political, legal and tax issues;
  • an overview of Indian employee involvement and volunteerism;
  • and screened recommendations for prospective partners, including intermediaries as well as direct development NGOs, and local consulting and service organizations.

Based on the research, Jon’s recommendations covered criteria for screening appropriate partners, established a competitive target spending range, provided advice on various aspects of program implementation, and identified elements of local reputation-building beyond philanthropic contribution necessary to meet its business objectives in workforce development.

 

Learning to read in Ethiopia

Butterfly dance in Peru

Water system in East Timor
Top: Learning to read in Ethiopia
Middle: Butterfly dance in Peru
Bottom: Water system in East Timor

Photos by Jonathan Levine
 
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