Supporting Just and Sustainable Communities

The Surdna Foundation supports social justice reform, healthy environments, inclusive economies, and thriving cultures across the United States.

Our History

The Surdna Foundation was founded in 1917 by John Emory Andrus to pursue a range of philanthropic purposes. To this day, family stewardship of the Foundation is guided by Andrus’ commitment to serving those in need.

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Through our investments, we dismantle the barriers that limit opportunities to create more prosperous, enriching, and sustainable communities. Taken together, our investments build capacity, spark innovation, and connect stakeholders while encouraging lesson-sharing between grantees.

Inclusive Economies

We support and invest in the growth of robust, sustainable economies with diverse businesses owned by people of color and the advancement of equitable economic development.

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Sustainable Environments

We support the creation of just and sustainable communities in which low-wealth and communities of color have the power to self-determine the ownership, control and stewardship of land and its infrastructure assets.

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Thriving Cultures

We invest in artists, culture-bearers, designers, and media-makers of color who partner with their communities to radically imagine justice and foster the conditions for just systems and practices to be adopted.

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Inclusive Economies
July 23, 2020

Risks for the Future We Want

How can philanthropists learn from protesters and reimagine the formula for making change on racial justice? In this Stanford Social Innovation Review article by Mekaelia Davis, director of Surdna’s Inclusive Economies program, examines…

July 21, 2020

Surdna Foundation Announces $22 Million in Grants

During the period of January-June 2020, 169 grants totaling $22,116,243 were approved by the Surdna Foundation staff and board to further the Foundation’s mission of fostering just and sustainable communities in the United States – communities…

What We're Learning
July 2, 2020

Seven Recommendations for Rapid Response Grantmaking

Casey Pechan of Fluxx Labs recently told the story of how Surdna shifted its grantmaking strategy to rapidly respond to the COVID-19 crisis and the needs of our grantees. Below is an excerpt of Casey's blog post, which you can read in full — and…

Reports & Publications
June 29, 2020

Celestial Navigation: How to Fund Culture Change in the U.S.

If there was ever a moment for cultural strategy and investment in Black, Indigenous, and artists of color, it is now. Amid a global pandemic and a national uprising against systemic racism, we are witnessing the power of artists, cultural…

June 9, 2020

Mass Decarceration and COVID-19

How can we meet this moment? We must begin by solving the crisis of imagination. In this Stanford Social Innovation Review article, Deanna Van Buren, co-founder and design director of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, and F. Javier…

May 13, 2020

Solidarity and Support for Our Grantees

Dear Grantees, During these uncertain and stressful times, I want to reaffirm our commitment to you, share an update about our COVID-19 response, and offer our resolve for the years ahead. Many of the issues laid bare by the pandemic are the…

May 1, 2020

Surdna Mourns the Loss of Peter Bourne Benedict

Peter Bourne Benedict, 1936 - 2020 It is with great sadness the Surdna Foundation reports the passing of Peter Bourne Benedict on April 25, 2020, at 84 years of age. Peter was a major figure at Surdna for some 30 years. He joined the…