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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Sustainable Environments
August 11, 2020

Equitable Evaluation: Learning with the Frontlines of Racial Justice

How can we in philanthropy do a better job of supporting the kind of collaboration and shared learning that grassroots organizations need to grow their movements? In 2019, the Surdna Foundation Sustainable Environments team set out to better…

Sustainable Environments
August 11, 2020

CFF 2020 Food Movement Support Fund

The CFF 2020 Food Movement Support Fund is a one-time grant program administered by Community Food Funders (CFF) and North Star Fund. Surdna is a member of the Community Food Funders, a network of foundations in the NY-NJ-CT area that support…

August 5, 2020

Don't Cut the Census Short

Surdna is proud to join 480+ funders in sending the US Department of Commerce a clear message: Don't cut the census short.  On August 5th, more than 480 philanthropic organizations, alarmed by the announcement that the U.S. Department of…

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…