Phil Henderson, Surdna Foundation's President, reflects on the mission, goals, and programs of the social justice family foundation.

From the President

  • Collaboration: Difficult but Essential

    The Surdna board has already met twice this year, once in retreat to think deeply about where Surdna is heading and once at our regular February board meeting. Our board’s culture is one in which working together with staff, and learning from one another—including learning from our failures—feels straightforward. And our three programs were created for the very purpose of collaborating toward fostering just and sustainable communities. But, at Surdna we have learned that collaboration is neither easy nor straightforward. It takes work and commitment. 

  • New loan fund provides short-term capital to NYC small businesses owned by people of color, women and immigrants

    Small businesses—especially those owned by people of color, women and immigrants—all too often lack the financial track record and the flexible capital needed to win contracts for infrastructure investments and other urban development efforts. Local businesses can and do win public and private contracts, but we want to increase the numbers and diversity of businesses that are able to participate in these bids. This requires that the right conditions be in place, including policies that support business growth, loan products with flexible underwriting standards, and business development and marketing assistance. 

  • Is Nonprofit Board Service Worth It? Reflections From A One-Time Skeptic

    Early in my career, I have to admit, I was a bit of skeptic about boards, thinking they were really just window dressing. Wasn’t a board member’s job simply lending his or her name to the organization’s letterhead, attending quarterly meetings, and offering the occasional nugget of wisdom? In other words: Don’t board members just show up and smile? It would be difficult to convince a skeptic otherwise, for we’ve all heard the not-so-apocryphal-sounding stories of big corporate boards that were asleep at the wheel while their CEOs did nefarious deeds.

Phillip Henderson, President, Surdna Foundation

Phillip W. HendersonA national leader among family foundation executives, Phil Henderson has focused Surdna on collaboration both internally across programs, and externally among funders within the foundation's issue areas. He has committed the foundation to using social justice as a compass to guide the systemic change Surdna aims for in its mission.

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