The Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative gave $6.4 million in grants to support nonprofit agencies with such needed services as research and advocacy, the organization announced Tuesday.

The grants represent a shift in strategy for the initiative to focusing on support systems that charities need to accomplish their missions, Fidelity Charitable said in its 2019 Trustees’ Initiative Impact Report.

The grants are designed to help “shore up the infrastructure of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, an area that is essential to the [nonprofit] community at large, while also being one of the most underfunded,” Fidelity Charitable said. The Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative is a direct grant making program separate from the Fidelity Charitable donor-advised fund program.

The initiative made 23 grants in the last fiscal year for research, advocacy and systems to share information and create networks.

“The important work of charities, whether their missions are to educate, advocate, cure disease, aid a population in need, preserve cultural heritage or provide spiritual support, relies on [having] a solid foundation,” said Pamela Norley, president of Fidelity Charitable. “Just as roads and bridges provide critical structures to support society, nonprofits need infrastructure to support their frontline work of doing good in the world.”

The grants are designed to enhance individual donors’ ability to make effective and informed giving decisions by providing funds to organizations that create resources and provide information that donors need to make informed decisions about charitable giving and volunteering, Fidelity Charitable said.

For example, VolunteerMatch, a national nonprofit working to connect volunteers with charities that rely on this support, received a grant to help develop an open technology platform for businesses to connect their employees with meaningful volunteer opportunities.

Grants also were given to intermediaries that provide information, research and advocacy. For instance, a grant went to Propel Nonprofits, which provides Midwest nonprofits with guidance, expertise and capital. A grant also went to Independent Sector, a national nonprofit that provides research and analysis on federal policies and tax law changes that impact charities.