Artists Engaging in Social Change

Artists and culture bearers give voice to cultural identity and are often powerful catalysts for social change. They not only carry forth cultural traditions but also create new traditions rooted in their community and identity. By contributing to the cultural richness of their communities, they strengthen and embolden them.

Thriving Cultures values artists and culture bearers who nurture, sustain, and grow our communities’ cultural traditions, which reflect the identities and beliefs of its people. Furthermore, we understand that artists can help foster discourse and influence a community’s social change goals.

The Thriving Cultures Program therefore supports programs that help artists and culture bearers deepen our cultural understanding or help communities achieve social change.

What we fund:

We seek funding opportunities that:

  • Deepen a collective understanding of diverse cultures through high quality art-making;
  • Provide resources and support to artists and culture bearers who use their artistic practice to promote their communities' values and traditions;
  • Engage communities with well-developed methods of cultural practice and art;
  • Articulate clear goals around a program’s potential to support a community’s social change priorities.

We give preference to organizations that:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to artistic and design excellence;
  • Find innovative ways to use arts and culture to make communities more just and sustainable;
  • Prioritize the needs of low-income communities and people of color in their work;
  • Maintain sound financial practices and management;
  • Demonstrate a capacity and willingness to share best practices and knowledge with their colleagues and others in the field;
  • Operate ongoing programs that contribute to a community’s cultural diversity and/or art forms;

We do not fund:

  • In-school arts programs;
  • Organizations that primarily present, rather than produce, art;
  • Organizations that solely provide arts-integrated services (e.g. arts as a mode for rehabilitation or therapy, health and social services delivery).

How to apply:

If you are interested in applying for a Surdna Foundation grant, please submit a letter of inquiry . Please note: We can only support organizations that meet our guidelines listed under "What We Fund."


Program Related Investments

Surdna's Program Related Investment Fund supports the foundation’s mission by providing investment capital to fund innovations that use market-based approaches to address economic, cultural, and environmental challenges.

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