The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States - communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies and thriving cultures. We seek to dismantle the structural barriers that limit opportunity for many, helping to create communities that are prosperous, culturally enriching, and sustainable.

Our Approach

  • We view grantmaking as part of a larger effort to build the capacity of the field, spark innovative ideas, and connect stakeholders.
  • We place a high value on sharing best practices and learnings with others in the field.
  • We respect all grantseekers by demonstrating transparency, responsiveness and courtesy.
  • We invest in new and emerging ideas that bring others to the table but at the same time, we recognize the importance of long-term and sustained commitments.
  • We strive to be responsive to the best thinking and ideas in the field and apply that to our work.

Our Programs

We make grants in three areas:

The Foundation works to build strong ties across all three programs as we recognize how they depend on each other to create just and sustainable communities. If you believe your work makes a strong connection between two or more of our programs (Sustainable Environments, Strong Local Economies and Thriving Cultures), please apply to the program that you feel is the strongest fit and then explain how it meets the objectives of our other program(s). Please review the guidelines for each program to help you determine where you should apply.

Program Related Investment Fund

  • Program Related Investment Fund

    The $18 million Program Related Investment (PRI) revolving fund began investing in 2014. The Fund supports the foundation’s mission of fostering just and sustainable communities by providing investment capital to fund innovations that use market-based approaches to address economic, cultural, and environmental challenges. To learn more visit here.

Support The Health Of The Nonprofit Sector

Surdna has a long history of supporting and building the capacity of the nonprofit sector through our Capacity and Infrastructure Fund. Reflecting our core values and mission, these grants aim to promote the highest standards of philanthropy and ensure transparency, accountability and integrity.  We make a small number of grants in this category and are unable to accept applications.  

How To Apply For A Grant

We make both project and general support grants and accept letters of inquiry on a rolling basis.  Because we receive far more letters of inquiry than we are able to support, we can only invite a limited number of applicants to submit a full proposal.  Full proposals are requested by our staff and reviewed by the Foundation’s board of directors in March, July, or December.  If we invite your organization to apply, the Foundation staff will work with you to determine the best possible timing for the board to consider your proposal.

Please visit our program pages (Strong Local Economies, Sustainable Environments, Thriving Cultures) to learn more about our guidelines.

To submit a letter of inquiry, click here.

We Seek Organizations That

  • Collaborate with other organizations working on the same or complementary issues (i.e. share learnings or research; build networks, alliances, and coalitions; hold strategic convenings; promote best practices within the field, etc.)
  • Strive to make long-term impact via public policy, advocacy, or capacity building
  • Propose ideas that can be replicated, expanded, and shared broadly with the field
  • Engage and build leadership among low-income communities and people of color
  • Prioritize principles of equity and social justice in their work
  • Maintain sound financial practices and management

We Are Unable To Fund

We do not fund individuals, capital projects or campaigns, endowments, building construction, academic fellowships, or projects that are internationally based or focused.

Please visit our three program pages: Sustainable Environments, Strong Local Economies and Thriving Cultures, to learn more about our guidelines and if we are a fit for your organization.

Fostering sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures.