The Sustainable Environments Program is working to overhaul our country’s outdated and crumbling infrastructure with a new approach that will foster healthier, sustainable, and just communities. We believe in the potential of what we call “next generation infrastructure” to improve transit systems, make buildings more energy efficient, better manage our water systems and rebuild regional food systems. Focusing on urban areas and their surrounding suburbs, we seek solutions that connect and improve these infrastructure systems in ways that maximize positive impacts and minimize negative environmental, economic and social consequences.
Click on the infographic below to explore and learn more about the emerging vision of Next Generation Infrastructure. Click on each icon for additional details about our approach to fostering just and sustainable communities.
Our infrastructure systems are overburdened by increased demand, extreme weather, and shrinking public budgets. The urgency and opportunity behind this challenge is driving us to look at our past grantmaking efforts around smart growth, climate and energy, and green economies through a lens of next generation infrastructure. Currently, many decisions about infrastructure repair and replacement are disjointed, short on authentic community engagement, and limited to traditional engineering approaches that waste money, restrict opportunity and damage the environment. By taking a systems-based approach, we can deliver better services to more people to the benefit of the environment and economy.
The Sustainable Environments Program seeks to create just and sustainable communities in four ways:
We support clean, affordable, equitable, high-quality and efficient transportation and land use development that better connects critical services, jobs, schools, housing and other regional destinations.
We support efforts to help people make homes, businesses and other buildings more energy efficient.
We support efforts to capture storm water and slowly release it into the existing network of drains, pipes and sewers, or reuse it where it falls to cultivate natural green spaces.
We support ways to make it easier to get local, sustainably produced food from our farms to the markets closest to where it’s grown, and to better connect food producers and consumers.
We seek organizations that:
We also believe that the Foundation’s three programs are strongly interrelated and necessary to create just and sustainable communities. We therefore encourage cross-cutting proposals that connect to the work of the Foundation’s Strong Local Economies and Thriving Cultures programs.
The Surdna Foundation is committed to continuous learning through our grantmaking. We view grant guidelines as living documents and will update them periodically to better target resources and increase our impact.
Generally, the Sustainable Environments Program does not fund:
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.