The Surdna Foundation Embarks on New Chapter

Grantmaking to focus on fostering just and sustainable communities

New York - The Surdna Foundation's board announced today that after a year-long review of its grantmaking, the Foundation is launching three new grantmaking programs - Sustainable Environments, Strong Local Economies, and Thriving Cultures - that will more effectively advance the Foundation's top objective to foster just and sustainable communities. To deliver on this new mission, the Surdna Foundation is aligning its work to prioritize environmental, economic and cultural issues as three areas critical to the long-term well-being of U.S. communities.

"We see a sustainable community as a place that uses environmental innovation to secure a livable environment over the long term, enables the establishment of a strong and resilient local economy, and celebrates a vibrant cultural life for all community members, regardless of background," said Phillip Henderson, president of the Surdna Foundation. "We believe foundations like ours can play a valuable role in fostering the development of just and sustainable communities across the United States."

The Surdna Foundation's new chapter will focus its grantmaking where it sees the most promise for creating significant impact like communities fueled by green jobs, distinguished by a vibrant cultural and civic life, and built upon accessible transit, housing, and economic opportunity. In addition, with a renewed emphasis on the importance of social justice, the Foundation will fund efforts that ensure all members of the community have the opportunity to succeed.

As part of this new chapter, the Surdna Foundation is actively finding ways to enhance the Foundation's work across programs and forge more Foundation-wide collaboration. Surdna's five year commitment to grantmaking in New Orleans has been emblematic of this style of work. Surdna has drawn on staff expertise from all of its historic issue areas to direct nearly $2 million in annual grantmaking to a wide range of civic engagement efforts in the Gulf Coast region.

As a way to increase the overall impact of its work, Surdna will plan for more flexibility in its grantmaking to respond to emerging opportunities and to seek innovative solutions that support the development of sustainable communities.

Surdna is dedicated to learning from the many grantees and leaders that have been a part of the Foundation's history over the past 92 years. "We are indebted to the contributions of our valuable staff and grantees that have helped create the strong foundation we have today to start our new chapter. We look forward to many of them continuing on this journey with us to foster more just and sustainable communities," said Josie Lowman, Chairperson of the Surdna Foundation Board of Directors. "By strengthening the focus of our work around our new mission, the Surdna Foundation can more effectively support social change over the next decade," said Lowman.

All information about the Surdna Foundation's new chapter can be found at


Established in 1917, the Surdna Foundation is one of the nation's oldest and largest family foundations. The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster just and 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.