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

From the President

  • Spring Reflections

    Well, it was the entire Surdna staff and board out to see and feel the work we are investing in at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows, New York, and the surrounding community.  The gorgeous weather certainly added some pep to our step.  But there was something in the air less tangible—but even more evident than the perfect spring day—that made this a remarkable gathering.  It was the ease and authenticity of our board-staff conversations and the way we learn together that gave the meeting a comfortable family feel.

  • 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. 

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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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.