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elliott norse - monk seal
A Hawaiian monk seal napping on some warm rocks on the shore in Hawaii. Image by John Johnson of One Breath Photography, courtesy of Marine Conservation Biology Institute.
In October 2009, the Surdna Foundation began a new chapter, focusing on just and sustainable communities. Building out of many comprehensive discussions about crafting this new mission for the Foundation, we made the difficult decision to discontinue funding some areas, including our ocean biodiversity and fisheries portfolio.

The Foundation is proud of its investment in a broad range of extremely innovative and successful organizations and initiatives that have made significant accomplishments in this area. We are grateful to our grantees and our longtime funding and community partners for their devotion and hard work. The ocean conservation field has progressed by leaps and bounds due to invaluable efforts at all levels to push for strong, conservation-minded policies.

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Acropora & Pocillopora corals at Palmyra Atoll in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Image courtesy of Jim Maragos / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and MCBI.
As we have conveyed to our colleagues in the field, our decision regarding our oceans portfolio does not mean that we feel there still isn’t significant work to be done. In looking back at the growth of the field, and looking forward to its future, we decided to conduct an in-depth assessment of our investment’s impact on the field. We are now releasing the results of that assessment in the enclosed report, Currents of Change: The Story of the Surdna Foundation’s Investment in Oceans.

We believe what we have learned much from funding ocean conservation and sustainable fisheries for 19 years and this learning will give us valuable insights into the work we will now focus on. We hope that these lessons can inform future efforts by our grantees, friends and colleagues. We have every expectation that the field will continue to make important strides as they fight for strong ocean policies and practices.




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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.