After 17 years of exceptional leadership, Ellen B. Rudolph has decided to leave her position as Program Director of the Surdna Foundation's Thriving Cultures Program on September 30, 2011. Over the next year, however, Ellen will assist Surdna with a leadership transition and manage three specific assignments related to the future development of the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), the Surdna Arts Teachers Fellowship program (SATF), and an early assessment of the Foundation's initial grantmaking in Community Driven Design. In addition to that work, Ellen looks forward to working independently in support of the fields and organizations to which she has devoted her career.
Ellen began working for the Surdna Foundation in 1994 as a consultant assigned to develop an arts grantmaking initiative. In 1997, she was asked to join the staff full-time to direct the new Arts Program. Over her 17 years, Ellen directed $70 million in grants from Surdna, primarily in support of teens' access to intensive opportunities for their artistic development. During her tenure, Ellen conceived and directed the development of a number of important national initiatives, including the Talented Students in the Arts Initiative (TSAI), SATF, and SNAAP. Since 2008, Ellen has overseen the transformation of the Arts Program into the Thriving Cultures Program, broadening the portfolio to embrace new cultural work in community driven design, social action, and economic development.
Surdna Foundation President Phillip Henderson said, "We have been lucky to have had Ellen's leadership at the Foundation for such an extended period. The depth of her career in the arts is truly impressive, and Surdna has benefited enormously from the breadth of her experience in the field. We will miss her wise contributions to our work."
Prior to joining the Surdna Foundation, Ellen's prior positions included Executive Director of the Cultural Education Collaborative in MA, Executive Director of the Off Off Broadway Alliance -OOBA (now called ART/NY), and high school and college arts teacher. She has provided strategic advice and directed projects as a consultant to a range of cultural institutions, schools and colleges, foundations, and education and national cultural policy agencies.
The Surdna Foundation will be conducting a national search for Ellen's replacement as Program Director of the Thriving Cultures Program. This search is being conducted by Isaacson, Miller, Inc. and information about this search will be available in mid-May 2011 at the Surdna Foundation Website.