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 Philanthropic leadership program emphasizes grantmaking that is responsive to the needs and assets of low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

 

The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities (TFN) has selected Alison Corwin and José Garcia, both Program Officers at the Surdna Foundation, as 2014 PLACES Fellows (Professionals Learning About Community, Equity, and Smart Growth), a leadership development program for philanthropy professionals working in, and with low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

Alison, José and the 15 other fellows will participate in and help shape a series of seminars, site visits, webinars, and events during the year-long fellowship.

Beth Herz, an Associate Program Officer at Surdna was selected as a 2012 PLACES Fellow.

“Alison and José’s PLACES’ experience will benefit Surdna’s commitment to building just and sustainable communities,” said Phillip Henderson, President of the Surdna Foundation. “They each bring distinct perspectives to the work: Alison combines her background in green affordable housing, women’s entrepreneurship, and urban planning to advance our ’Next Generation Infrastructure’ grantmaking.  Jose combines small business management, economic opportunity policy research, and policy advocacy in Latino community engagement in advancing our ’Strong Local Economies’ grantmaking.  PLACES will offer them new tools, best practices, and a network of peers dedicated to sharpening philanthropy's social justice lens,” added Henderson.

Henderson continued, “Surdna is exploring ways to challenge power dynamics, structural racism, and other social inequities in order to achieve our mission.  And we know that other grantmakers are looking to the PLACES Fellows to help the philanthropic sector find effective ways of reducing, and eventually removing, barriers and patterns of development that--consciously or unconsciously--continue to limit access to opportunity.”

The PLACES fellowship program aims to identify and cultivate a new generation of philanthropy professionals whose work focuses on issues related to the needs and assets of low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. The program emphasizes the sharing among fellows of concerns, perspectives, and know-how that will enable each to better address the complex challenges and opportunities of an increasingly diverse America.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to deepen my engagement and leadership on social justice issues,” said Alison Corwin. “The Fellowship will provide important guidance on navigating power dynamics while managing the inherent privilege of being a grantmaker. I am excited to work with peers and discuss how we can hold ourselves and each other accountable to our commitments to social justice and equity.” 

“The fellowship is an ideal opportunity to continue and refine my work to advocate for policies that create long lasting change in low income and immigrant communities,” said José Garcia. “With an emphasis on social justice, the program will complement my focus on infusing activism with policy and data. I’m eager to begin working with the other fellows and the experts we’ll have access to over the next year.”

About Surdna Foundation
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.

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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.