In the face of evolving health, environmental, and social challenges, nonprofits need to be able to build partnerships, develop new programs, and adapt to their communities’ needs overnight. Responsive and flexible financing is one of the tools that makes this possible. As such, Vanguard Charitable has launched a recoverable grant program that equips you with new options to better support the causes and communities you care about.


Recoverable grants provide funds to the causes you care about when they are critically needed, and then recover funds to your donor-advised fund (DAF) account if and when permanent support or revenue arrives.

The three most common ways donors use recoverable grants are to:

Bridge gaps

Bridge gaps

Education nonprofits promote learning and intellectual development, from preschools through post-graduate schools and adult learning programs. This category includes schools for students with special needs, organizations offering vocational and technical training, libraries, literacy programs, scholarships, student organizations, and parent-teacher groups.

Grow programs quickly

Grow programs quickly

Many programs nonprofits launch have the potential to generate revenue over time. Recoverable grants can provide the up-front capital needed to launch these programs.

Expand charitable goals

Expand charitable goals

A recoverable grant can support research and development at nonprofits, whether it’s testing out a new program or developing a new business line.

Recoverable grants begin a granting cycle that you can continue by re-granting charitable dollars recovered from a prior recoverable grant.



Join the Movement

See how Vanguard Charitable donors are already using recoverable grants to support the causes they care about.

Bridge Gaps Bridge Funding Gaps



Donor background:

A Vanguard Charitable donor wants to ensure that every dollar in their donor-advised fund is as impactful as possible, especially in light of Covid-19 and the increased urgency for philanthropic support around the globe.


The challenge:

UNICEF USA receives millions of dollars in donations each year to support their global efforts to give every child an equitable chance in life. However, the timing gap between when a donor makes a commitment and when UNICEF receives the pledged cash can be a matter of life and death, delaying UNICEF’s ability to deliver medical supplies, clean water, educational materials, and more in times of crises.


The solution:

A Vanguard Charitable donor recommended a recoverable grant to the UNICEF USA Bridge Fund to provide the up-front funding UNICEF needs to move quickly to prefinance COVID-19 vaccines, deliver clean water in the wake of hurricanes, distribute mosquito nets before malaria season, and more. The pledged cash that UNICEF ultimately receives from its donors provides the source of grant recovery for the Vanguard Charitable donor’s account.


What’s next:

As UNICEF leads the procurement and delivery of two billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries in need around the globe, the recoverable grant funds help accelerate funding so that more people can access vaccines worldwide. In 2021, for example, the Bridge Fund helped Nigeria purchase cold chain storage equipment six months ahead of funding so that it could be prepared for vaccine delivery.

Grow Programs quickly Grow Programs Quickly



Donor background:

A life-long advocate for public health, a Vanguard Charitable donor cares deeply about global access to health care and technology needed to eradicate diseases and promote long-term community health.


The challenge:

With Peru facing high rates of the deadliest form of tuberculosis, Partners In Health, a leading global health nonprofit, sought to build a health center in Lima focused on the treatment and prevention of tuberculosis across Peru. They needed to fundraise quickly so they could kick off the four-year development of the center, which, if successful, has the potential to generate its own revenue and become financially self-sufficient.


The solution:

The donor recommended a recoverable grant to Partners In Health to help fund the construction of the health center in Lima, Peru. Recoverable grants enabled Partners In Health to fundraise and start construction faster than they would have through a traditional capital campaign and, if the center reaches its goals, the donor’s donor-advised fund may recover funds for even more meaningful giving.


What’s next:

Partners In Health met its full fundraising goal with the help of recoverable grants from the Vanguard Charitable donor and finalized the health center’s design in the same year. The outbreak of COVID-19 in Peru, however, paused construction and Partners In Health pivoted to support the Peruvian government’s efforts to respond to COVID-19. As construction resumes in 2021, the flexibility of recoverable grants makes it easier for Partners In Health to adjust its timeline for the health center in response to the pandemic.

Expand Charitable Goals Expand Charitable Goals



Donor background:

A Vanguard Charitable donor is deeply focused on pioneering new models for nonprofits to grow their impact effectively and exponentially. Refugee support has been long overlooked by these types of innovative financing models.


The challenge:

The more than 82.4 million people who are refugees worldwide will likely be so r, on average, for over ten years.* Opportunities for displaced families and individuals to regain stability and build new livelihoods, however, are woefully limited. Kiva, a major microfinance nonprofit, sought to expand its charitable activities by launching its first fund that would provide loans to help displaced people secure new livelihoods.


The solution:

A Vanguard Charitable donor recommended a recoverable grant to Kiva’s Refugee Investment Fund to pioneer lending to displaced people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access loans they need to generate new livelihoods. The recoverable grant, which can be recovered by returns from the fund’s lending activities, helps Kiva grow its mission while proving out a new model of refugee support.


What’s next:

Global humanitarian crises continue to displace people and families. Access to capital can be the missing piece that helps refugees establish a secure and fulfilling life in their new communities. The recoverable grant funds help Kiva pilot its new lending model, which, if successful, could prove refugees are worth investing in and unlock more traditional forms of capital.


*The term ‘refugees’ refers to both refugees and internally displaced people.

CapShift has worked with dozens of donors to move millions of recoverable grant dollars into organizations driving social and environmental change. These pioneering donors help close the funding gap for early-stage climate technology, channel economic power to marginalized communities across the United States, provide women and families in rural communities around the globe with resources to weather the COVID-19 pandemic, and much more.


Frequently asked questions about the Program

If you are a Premier donor with Vanguard Charitable, reach out to your Philanthropic Advisor ( to start the conversation about recoverable grants

Recoverable grants are more complex than a typical grant. Depending on the specifics of the opportunity, a recoverable grant can take from one week up to several weeks to process.

Vanguard Charitable requires a $25,000 minimum grant size for recoverable grants.

Recoverable grants are meant to be flexible and are a charitable endeavor. Recoverable grants are only recovered under certain circumstances and grantees are not obligated to recover funds to the grantor.

Frequently asked questions about the Platform

Once you have worked with your Vanguard Charitable Philanthropic Advisor ( to secure a login, you can click here to go to the CapShift platform. You can also access the platform at any point through the top right-hand button on the CapShift website.

The account set-up link expires after 24 hours for security purposes. To request a new link, you can respond to the initial email you received or send a note to

Click the “Forgot Password?” button at the bottom of the login page. You can also send any questions to

Send an email to with your original email address and the new email address you would like to update it to, and the CapShift team will take it from there.


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