Eligibility Includes the Following Criteria:

  • Nonprofit Status
    Nonprofit organizations must generally have a valid tax exemption status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and be classified as a public charity and not as a "private foundation" under Section 509(a)
  • Geographic Focus
    Surdna makes grants throughout the United States. We do not make grants to organizations for projects that are internationally based or focused.
  • Funding Exclusions
    We generally do not fund individuals, capital campaigns or building construction, or projects that are internationally based or focused.



Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about our grantmaking process.

Do you have application deadlines for Letters of Inquiry?
There are no deadlines for letters of inquiry—LOIs are accepted on a rolling basis through the foundation’s online application form and are reviewed by Surdna staff within 90 days. 

What happens after I submit an LOI?
Please note upon submitting your Letter of Inquiry, you will NOT receive an email confirmation. Look for this message on your screen to confirm receipt of your LOI: "Thank you for submitting your registration.  We will get back to you shortly after reviewing." After you have submitted your LOI we will contact you within 90 days with an initial decision. If, after 90 days, you have not heard from us, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and refer to your organization name and application date. If you are asked to follow up with a full proposal, our staff will be in contact with you about how to proceed.

Does Surdna make multi-year grants?
Yes. Organizations may inquire about grants of up to 36 months.

Does Surdna make grants outside the United States?
No. Surdna only makes grants within in the United States. We do not make grants that are internationally-based or focused, nor do we fund grants in US territories outside of the 50 states.

Does Surdna make grants to individuals?
No. Surdna only makes grants to nonprofit organizations.

What amount should I ask for?
The grant amount you ask for should relate directly to the size of your organization's budget and the amount that is needed to successfully complete the project. Beyond that, you can review Surdna's grant amounts by search through our grants database.

Does Surdna support indirect costs?
Yes. The Surdna Foundation allows for indirect costs for program grants up to 15% of project expenses provided that: 1) indirect costs are reflected in the project budget; and 2) the grant request is over $25,000. The Surdna Foundation does not allow indirect costs for grants of $25,000 or less.

Where do I send additional materials that I cannot send online?
Materials that cannot be sent through our online application system should be clearly labeled with the name of the organization and the grant request number that you received by e-mail after your application was submitted. Mail materials to: Grants Manager, Surdna Foundation, 330 Madison Ave., 30th Floor, New York, NY 10010.

Can I speak to a program officer on the phone?
If you have looked through the Web site and still have questions about submitting an application, you can contact us by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Most questions can be answered by either the Grants Manager or a program associate for the particular program which you are inquiring about.

Can I meet with a program officer or with the president to explain what we do because we will be in town?
We would love to have the time to meet with everyone who requests a meeting. Unfortunately that would leave us no time for making grants. We ask that you first submit a letter of inquiry so that we can become familiar with your organization and project request. If it is determined that there is a possible match with our funding priorities, we will contact you for a meeting at that time.

Can we submit an LOI if we are not a nonprofit organization?
No. Only nonprofit organizations may submit LOIs.

Can we submit an LOI if we are a government entity?
No; unfortunately, government agencies are not eligible for funding. While some of our projects support public/private partnerships, the grant must be made directly to the nonprofit organization.

Can we submit an LOI through our fiscal sponsor?
In certain circumstances you may submit an LOI through a fiscal sponsor. The fiscal sponsor must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has a formal relationship with the organization working on the project. Please note that in such cases the grant goes to the fiscal sponsor directly, and the fiscal sponsor is responsible for the proper expenditure of funds and all reporting requirements.

What should I do if I sent in an LOI and I haven't heard back
If it has been less than 90 days since you applied, please be patient. If it has been over 90 days, you should email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Please refer to your organization name and application date.


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