Foundation Initiatives

In 2009, as part of Surdna's mission and program revision, Foundation Initiatives (FI) was created to ensure flexibility and ongoing cross-programmatic thinking at the foundation. FI does this through research and development (R&D) that supports the exploration of innovation, new strategies, and emerging trends identified by foundation staff; and through time-limited grantmaking initiatives based on the outcomes of our R&D. Results of our ongoing R&D and the establishment of specific grantmaking initiatives will be announced on our website and through our monthly newsletter.

New Orleans Fund

In 2008, three years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the subsequent levee breaches that caused widespread disaster throughout New Orleans, the Surdna Foundation launched the New Orleans Fund to advance the city's long-term re-building and resiliency efforts. Building off of previous and ongoing support of the region in our core programs, this $5 million, 5 year grantmaking initiative supports civic engagement in multiple issue areas, including economic development, education, arts and culture, coastal restoration, and worker's rights. The fund prioritizes groups that are local or are working in direct collaboration with locally-led groups, and gives preference to projects that engage communities that have traditionally had the least access to power and decision making spaces in the city. Since its inception the Fund has given over $2 million to 18 organizations working to strengthen New Orleans' civic fabric.

The New Orleans Fund considers grant requests on a rolling basis. For further information on the work of the New Orleans Fund, please visit:

Capacity and Infrastructure Fund

Surdna has a long history of supporting the capacity and infrastructure of the nonprofit sector, and Foundation Initiatives manages our continued our work in this area. Led by Surdna's core values and mission, the Capacity and Infrastructure Fund focuses on:

1. Building the nonprofit sector - through strategic research, next generation leadership development, and the creation of more effective communications and infrastructure.

2. Transforming philanthropy - by promoting greater effectiveness, accountability, transparency, and practices grounded in social justice and equity. The Capacity and Infrastructure Fund considers requests yearround and distributes grants once a year in May, though exceptions will be considered for especially compelling or timely requests.