Foundation Initiatives was created to ensure flexibility and ongoing cross-programmatic thinking at the Foundation. This is accomplished through research and development 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 research and development. In 2011 Foundation Initiatives included research on food systems, leadership development, program strategy refinement, and funding in our New Orleans and Capacity and Infrastructure Funds.
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 rebuilding and resiliency efforts. Building off of previous and ongoing support of the region in our core programs, this $5 million, five-year grantmaking initiative supports civic engagement in multiple issue areas, including economic development, education, arts and culture, coastal restoration, and workers’ 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.
Surdna has a long history of supporting the capacity and infrastructure of the nonprofit sector. The Foundation continues to make a small number of capacity and infrastructure grants. Led by our core values and mission, these grants are designed to bring additional resources to organizations that are integral to serving the needs of the nonprofit sector.
Because the Capacity and Infrastructure Fund is small, we do not accept applications in this category. Grants are announced once per year in May and are generally made on a multi-year basis.