The Surdna Foundation announced today that William Cordery, an experienced grantmaker with deep roots in social justice work, has been appointed Program Officer for the Strong Local Economies program. He will begin on May 18, 2015, joining a team working on economic development and economic justice issues around the country.
William's hire will strengthen the commitment of the foundation's Strong Local Economies program to creating opportunities for upward economic mobility among low-income people, communities of color, women, and immigrants.
For the past three years, William has been a program officer at the Marguerite Casey Foundation in Seattle, WA where he managed a $5 million annual grant portfolio focusing on investments in advocacy, organizing, and education in eight states across the U.S. South. William has a background creating and sustaining donor partnerships, including his efforts to coalesce a network of funders to support projects to improve the lives of boys and men of color in the South.
While at Casey, William also assumed a number of leadership roles in philanthropy and social justice organizations. He has served as co-chair for the program committee for Grantmakers for Southern Progress-a national working group of the Neighborhood Funders Group, and is a member of the steering committee for the Seattle chapter of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. William has published on, and advocated on behalf of LGBT equality, and serves on the steering committee of the LGBT Southern Funding Project, a project of Funders for LGBTQ Issues. He is also on the board of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and an editorial board member at the Grassroots Fundraising Journal.
William was selected for the 2014-2015 class of the Association of Black Foundation Executives' Connecting Leaders Fellowship--a year-long experience designed to sharpen the skills and strengthen the leadership capacity of foundation staff, donors, and trustees who are committed to assisting Black communities through philanthropy.
Phillip Henderson, Surdna's President, said, "William is an ideal fit for Surdna. He is dedicated to advancing our social justice agenda and is not afraid to ask difficult questions to help get us there. He brings passion, leadership and a collaborative way of working to the position. We are thrilled that he is joining Surdna."
"William's unique skill set, combined with his deep commitment to under-served populations, experience with grant making in the South, and passion for true social justice work, make him a tremendous addition to our team," said Shawn Escoffery, Program Director, Strong Local Economies, "We are excited to have William partner with grantees, helping them strengthen their fundamentals so they can focus on achieving their missions."
About the Surdna Foundation
The Surdna Foundation aims to foster sustainable communities in the United States - communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by sustainable environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures. The Foundation seeks to dismantle the structural barriers that limit opportunity for many, helping to create communities that are prosperous, culturally enriching, and sustainable.
Please note the Surdna Foundation’s online Letter of Inquiry (LOI) portal will be temporarily unavailable from May 6 through May 13. Non-profit organizations intending to submit an LOI will not be able access the portal during this period.
Nonprofits that have already initiated and saved an LOI through the online portal will not have access to their draft LOIs between May 6 and May 13.
If your organization has already begun an LOI, please submit on or before Tuesday, May 5 at 5:00 p.m. (EDT) in order to avoid losing any data.
Thank you for your patience. Surdna’s online grants portal is being taken offline in order to allow for the transfer to a new grants management system.
Long-time director Jon Goldberg saluted as his board tenure ends
Adriana Jiménez, Grants Manager at the Surdna Foundation, has been appointed to the board of directors of the Grants Managers Network (GMN), a national association of 3,000 members. Jiménez, who has been in the grants management profession since 2010 and Co-chaired GMN’s successful 2014 Annual Conference, will begin her board tenure in June 2015.
GMN Board of Directors Co-Chair éis an ideal choice to advocate on behalf of advancing the knowledge and expertise of grants management professionals so they can lead their organizations to better outcomes. “Adriana has the energy, experience and innovation the GMN board needs as it continues to emphasize effectiveness and transforms the profession toward greater efficiency, innovation and transparency.”
Adriana Jimenez’s service continues the Surdna Foundation’s representation on the GMN Board of Directors and the foundation’s long-standing commitment to Director of Grants Management, Learning and Information, has served on GMN from 2002-2006, and 2011-2015 during which he has held the offices of Chair and Treasurer.é Surdna’s
“Surdna’s grants management team is a critical center of innovation and strategy development, both at the foundation and within the philanthropic and nonprofit sector,” said Phil Henderson, Surdna’s President. “We are pleased that Adriana has been recognized for her leadership. And we salute Jon for his years of GMN board service and his commitment to generating and sharing innovations with the field.”
The Surdna Foundation’s Office of Grants Management works closely with program and administrative staff, as well as grant applicants, to design systems that minimize application and reporting requirements, help the foundation implement strategy, and focus on what we are learning from the work of our grantee partners.
About the Grants Managers Network
The Grants Managers Network is a thriving national association of nearly 3,000 philanthropy professionals with a mission
Large corporations dominate federal subsidy awards; banks, foreign-owned energy firms and federal contractors among the biggest recipients.
Two-thirds of the $68 billion in business grants and special tax credits awarded by the federal government over the past 15 years have gone to large corporations. During the same period, federal agencies have given the private sector hundreds of billions of dollars in loans, loan guarantees and bailout assistance, with the largest share going to major U.S. and foreign banks.
These are key findings of Uncle Sam's Favorite Corporations, a study with accompanying database released today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit and non-partisan research center on economic development accountability which receives support from the Surdna Foundation. They derive from the first comprehensive compilation of company-specific federal subsidy data. The study and database are available at www.goodjobsfirst.org.
The database, which collects more than 160,000 awards from 137 programs, expands Good Jobs First’s Subsidy Tracker, which since 2010 has posted economic development data from states and localities. The federal data was enhanced with Good Jobs First’s proprietary subsidiary-parent matching system, enabling users to see individual entries linked to more than 1,800 corporate parents, along with each parent’s total subsidies.
“For more than 20 years, so-called corporate welfare has been debated widely with little awareness of which companies were receiving most of the federal assistance,” said Good Jobs First Executive Director Greg LeRoy.
“We now see that big business dominates federal subsidy spending the way it does state and local programs,” said Philip Mattera, principal author of the study and creator of Subsidy Tracker. “Our hope is that the new Subsidy Tracker will serve as a resource in the ongoing debates over federal assistance to business," Mattera added.
Other key findings:
Four Surdna Foundation grantees are among this year’s cohort of the country’s best and brightest urban advocates aged 40 or younger. Leaders are selected annually by Next City to attend the Vanguard conference which gathers top urban innovators working to make change in cities.
Theresa Hwang, Skid Row Housing Trust in Los Angeles; Kevin Musselman, People’s Emergency Center in Philadelphia; Ceara O’Leary, DCDC in Detroit; and Tsedey Betru, Community LIFT in Memphis were selected through a competitive application process.
The conference is designed to bring together professionals working across disciplines and sectors, and class includes policymakers and politicians, architects and urban planners, artists and mediamakers.
Francis Carter,inaugural Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award by Design Ignites Change and In his winning application, which carries a $10,000 prize, Carter proposes the expansion of , which works with farmers from upstate New York and community groups in New York City to deliver fresh produce to Harlem, Washington Heights and the Bronx.
, the strategy and communications firm known for their work towards positive social change, and , in collaboration with Harris’s family, friends and supporters to honor her legacy by recognizing other vanguards dedicated to public design.(1953 – 2011) is widely recognized as a pioneer, a generous mentor and a vital inspiration to the field of social impact design. The Award is presented by
Corbin Hill Food Project was awarded a $225,000 36-month Surdna grant in December 2014. They are a critical part of Surdna’s effort to rebuild regional food systems, a critical—but often overlooked—part of our infrastructure. Surdna is supporting leaders like Francis Carter and CHFP’s Founder and President develop solutions to shorten the distance from farm to table and improve relationships between and among producers, aggregators, processors, and consumers. Surdna’s funding includes support for “food hubs,” a key form of regional food enterprise that performs services including picking up produce directly from local and regional farmers, and sorting, packing, loading and delivering to schools, hospitals, food service companies, and restaurants.
Francis Carter, a graduate of the Parsons Transdisciplinary Design master’s program, will apply the $10,000 prize towards expanding the Food Project’s produce delivery capacity through the deployment of refrigerated cases, acting as pop-up farm stands in communities where the Project is already embedded. The award will also cover the development and printing of educational and outreach materials, to complement current outreach efforts and draw attention to the new refrigerated retail program.
Says Carter, “I’m honored to receive this amazing opportunity, and grateful that it will enable us at Corbin Hill Food Project to better supply fresh food to the places that need it most. I look forward to continuing the practice of citizen design, thanks to the work of Sylvia Harris and her championing of ‘good design for the common good.’”
Carter embodies a new understanding of design’s capabilities to disrupt established but ineffective systems to result in improved quality of life for communities. As a designer on staff at, he strategically uses creative problem solving and design thinking to develop solutions that maximize returns on a triple bottom line: economic, social, and environmental.
Says Gary Singer, Harris’ widower, “Sylvia was always concerned and sometimes outraged at the state of food in this country. I know this would be very close to her heart.”
A jury with great expertise in major facets of social impact design selected Carter’s project as the most outstanding, amongst a pool of highly innovative ideas. Jury members included: Milton Glaser, designer and owner of ; Steven Heller, , co-chair of SVA’s Designer as Author program, and author of the ; Karen Proctor, Principal of and social entrepreneurship teacher at program; and Jessica Garz, Thriving Cultures Program Officer at .
Leticia Peguero, Executive Director, the Andrus Family Fund, was named by Hispanics in Philanthropy as one of its 2015 HIPGivers. HIPGivers, says Diana Campoamor, President of Hispanics in Philanthropy, are collectively altering the landscape for our country. They are pushing the envelope by asking for more — more consideration, more awareness, more compassion, more action, more giving.
ivers 31 Portraits of Latino Giving
Leticia Peguero, Executive Director of the Andrus Family Fund and the Andrus Family Philanthropy Program, doesn’t mince words when it comes to understanding philanthropy as a lifestyle and making it a priority to give back to the community.
“My give is to remind those sitting around the philanthropic table that social justice is not just what we put in our missions, but how we live our lives,” Peguero, wrote in answer to a HIPGivers question.
This philosophy has been Peguero’s touchstone in more than 20 years of working in social justice programming and philanthropy. As she considered the question of her “give” to the community, she added an important component to consider: “how we give of our time and how we challenge the dynamics of power and inequality in the U.S. and in our countries of origin.”
Peguero has a bachelor of arts degree from Fordham University, and a master’s in public administration from the Baruch College School of Public Affairs, both in New York City. She also successfully completed a National Urban Fellows Master in Public Administration Fellowship, a renowned leadership development program in New York City.
She has worked as the Regional Vice President at the Posse Foundation, and as Deputy Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Local Funding Partnerships. In addition to her current work with Andrus, Peguero helps run Areytos Performance Works, which is a dance theatre company focused on Afro-Caribbean forms, contemporary modern dance, and performance art.
Living in New York’s South Bronx is a choice Peguero values.
“I live in the South Bronx and grew up in a community in Brooklyn where lots of Puerto Ricans lived,” she said. “I choose to live in the South Bronx because I love it... The community of young people, the artists, the older women taking care of their grandchildren... The new immigrants wondering how and when we will pass immigration reform.”
Peguero said her neighborhood inspires her to practice giving and compassion in the same ways that she advocates for them. She attributes this outlook to her, “grandmother’s struggle working in factories with little knowledge of the language or culture.”
“Like many of us, I come from a community that has non-traditional notions of what it means to give,” she said.
“Philanthropy in many of our communities means the sharing of who you are,” she added. “Giving is about connection.” For Peguero it’s organic, a way of viewing the world.
“I think if we recognize that philanthropy is alive and well in our communities,” she said, “we can help define it from our own community grown perspectives.”
And those grassroots perspectives, Peguero added, inform her leadership of the Andrus Family Fund, which seeks on a national scale to impact the lives of many who are 16 to 24 years old and are stuck in the cyclical confines of the foster care and juvenile justice systems.
“Give because we are all interconnected...” she said. “Your success is tied up in mine.”
Surdna is a family foundation. A simple statement, but one that carries deep meaning for us -- meaning that shapes much of what we do. At our most recent board meeting, we continued our examination of potential changes to the way we invest our endowment, we discussed some important modifications to the role of the board in our grantmaking process, and we breathed new life into a conversation between Surdna and the Andrus Family Fund, a grantmaking fund we created just over 15 years ago.
California’s minority and women business enterprises (MWBEs) have lost the potential equivalent of $1 billion in public contracts because of Proposition 209, according to a Surdna Foundation-funded report by the Equal Justice Society.
EJS released the report today during an informational hearing by the California State Assembly Committee on Judiciary. The hearing also heard other testimony related to the impact of Proposition 209 on public contracting.
2016 will mark the 20th anniversary of Proposition 209, which ended the use of race and gender conscious decision-making in California in the areas of public employment, public education, and public contracting or procurement.
Proposition 209 not only ended race-conscious programs in California, it unnecessarily ended the collection of procurement data related to race, ethnicity, and gender in most jurisdictions of California that had previously been collecting that data. Therefore, the report states the potential loss of contract dollars due to Proposition 209 and not the actual dollars lost.
EJS commissioned Tim Lohrentz, an expert in affirmative procurement and supplier diversity, to author the report. Lohrentz was formerly the Director, Inclusive Business Initiative, with the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. Lohrentz was assisted by Michael Sumner, Ph.D., former Research Manager at the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, UC Berkeley School of Law.
“Taxes from women and people of color help fund public contracts, but are denied equal opportunities to obtain those contracts, said Eva Paterson, EJS President. “We often tout the great economic engine of California, and public contracting is a major part of fueling that engine. This report clearly shows that Proposition 209 denied Black, Latino, Asian American, and women-owned businesses equal opportunities to contribute to our state’s economic growth.”
Lohrentz and Sumner found that MWBEs, which had been erasing the disparity between their availability and their utilization by participating in race- and gender-conscious programs, were heavily impacted by Proposition 209. Some of these businesses never recovered.
This study shows the following impacts in today’s dollars due to Proposition 209:
John Hawkins | Board Member | Surdna Foundation
My wife Joey and I were lucky enough (particularly given the recent weather) to attend a recent performance of "Schoolhouse Rock Live!" at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, VT. It was a performance of the Autism Theatre Initiative sponsored in part by a three-year Surdna Foundation grant to the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts to support a series of programs for artists and audiences with disabilities.
This adaptation of the Emmy-winning ‘70s Saturday morning cartoon series was presented as an autism-friendly performance. The content remained the same—a teacher nervous about his first in front of classroom who relaxes in front of the TV from which characters appear and show him how to win over his students using imagination and music.
This past summer I visited with John Killacky the Flynn’s Executive Director as he and his staff worked with the artists in the touring company and the National Autism Theatre Initiative to learn how to create a supportive environment for audience members diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or other sensory issues.
The most important lesson for me was how much both sides learned from one another in the process of setting up the single performance of “Schoolhouse.” There was significant disagreement initially around whether “Schoolhouse” should be a performance that encouraged participation by the broader Burlington community or whether it should be focused only on those with autism spectrum disorder.
The Flynn staff argued that all performances should try--if at all possible--to accommodate the entire range of the human condition. Killacky and his staff believed you should never make it your goal to serve a single audience. Ultimately, the decision was to have an inclusive performance to which all family audiences are invited.
A really interesting part of the conversation was that the Autism Theatre Initiative had never staged any single performances at any of the venues where they'd presented over the years. Somewhat surprisingly (to me at least), this was a new paradigm for the Autism Theatre. The planned performance at the Flynn, for those on the autism spectrum, was just one of several performances in all the other larger venues. At this point in the conversation, you could see light-bulbs coming on in people’s heads. --”You mean, this is the ONLY performance at the Flynn?
It was one of those "well-that-changes-things" moments and the conversation quickly shifted from how the Theater must be prepared to accommodate potentially unusual behavior to how the Flynn could make performers, the audience, staff and others feel welcomed and still accommodate potentially unusual behavior. To improve the chances that theater-goers would be able to relax and enjoy the production, the Flynn took special measures to make the theater sensory-friendly for people with autism, which means that the house lights would be a little brighter and typical rules, like enforcing silence in the audience, were relaxed.
The performance, and the preparations leading up to it, became an important learning opportunity for a community. The actual performance of Schoolhouse Rocks Live earlier in February, was but a single, albeit important part, of a months-long, intensive process designed to stage a performance that accommodated autism spectrum needs.
In their typically low-key manner, prior to the performance, the Flynn staff did a superb job of presenting all the auditory, visual, personal space, feelings of safety, and comfort adjustments they'd made to their usual practices.
"Schoolhouse Rocks Live!" may not have been award-winning theater, but it was great community building. Following the performance, John Killacky told me he was as pleased with the production as we were. I've learned a lot by closely observing a process from its initial planning stage to the the performance for the community. I'm proud that Surdna was able to make this grant.
John Hawkins, a fourth generation member of the Andrus family , lives in Strafford, Vermont, and has been a teacher, a cabinetmaker, a wooden toy designer and manufacturer, a software engineer and a college administrator.
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.