The Thriving Cultures program is based on a belief that communities with robust arts and culture are more cohesive and prosperous, and benefit from the diversity of their residents. We know that artists and cultural organizations can help us explore shared values and spark innovation, imagination and advancement for our communities.

Too often, however, arts and culture is undervalued as a catalyst for creating just and sustainable communities, which is a key priority for the Surdna Foundation.

The Thriving Cultures Program seeks to create just and sustainable communities in four ways:

We seek organizations that:

  • Embrace artistic and design excellence;
  • Find innovative ways to use arts and culture to make communities more just and sustainable;
  • Prioritize the needs of low-income communities and people of color in their work;
  • Maintain sound financial practices and management; and
  • Demonstrate a capacity and willingness to share best practices and knowledge with their colleagues and others in the field.

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 Sustainable Environments 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 Thriving Cultures program does not fund:

  • Individuals, academic fellowships or for-profit entities;
  • Capital campaigns or endowments;
  • In-school art programs.


Program Related Investments

Surdna's Program Related Investment Fund supports the foundation’s mission by providing investment capital to fund innovations that use market-based approaches to address economic, cultural, and environmental challenges.

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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.