Program Associate, Communications & Engagement

The Surdna Foundation, a New York City-based family foundation, seeks a Program Associate for Communications. The Program Associate will report to the Director of Communications and Engagement and will collaborate with other staff to plan and implement Surdna’s communications strategy to advance the Foundation’s efforts to promote just and sustainable communities in the United States.

About The Surdna Foundation

Created by John E. Andrus in 1917, the Surdna Foundation has assets of approximately $1 billion and an annual grantmaking budget of roughly $40 million. The Foundation has a staff of 27, who are working remotely until Surdna’s Midtown Manhattan office reopens in (expected) July 2021. The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States—communities guided by principles of social and racial justice and distinguished by healthy and sustainable environments, inclusive economies, and thriving cultures. Governed by a Board of Directors that includes fourth- and fifth-generation family members, the longstanding values of the Andrus family—practicality, modesty, excellence and an appreciation for serving those in need—underlie the Surdna Foundation’s work.

The Foundation provides funding support for efforts at the national, state, metropolitan, and local levels throughout the United States. It invests in the exchange of ideas across networks of people, institutions, and places with the intent of seeding innovative projects, programs, and policies and bringing them to scale across the country. It seeks grantmaking opportunities that include balanced efforts to: demonstrate the effectiveness of specific projects, practices, and models; advocate for and implement federal, state, and local public policy reforms; and empower, mobilize, and develop leadership and civic participation in communities and agencies.

The Surdna Foundation has three grantmaking areas: Inclusive Economies, Sustainable Environments, and Thriving Cultures. The Foundation also oversees the Andrus Family Fund, which focuses on empowering vulnerable youth. It recognizes that its programmatic interests are interrelated and is committed to supporting work across its programs to achieve its organizational objectives of democratic participation, wealth creation, and public and private sector accountability. It is committed to learning as a key approach to achieving its foundation-wide outcomes.



The Program Associate will support the Director of Communications and Engagement and Program Officer for Philanthropy in implementing Surdna’s communications strategy and manage a range of communications tasks for both external and internal audiences, including:

  • Working with colleagues to develop stories, the results of ongoing learning, case studies, visual imagery, and updates about the Foundation’s work;
  • Writing, editing, and updating content for the Foundation’s publications, website, social media activities, and email campaigns as well as internal documents;
  • Collaborating with colleagues on an editorial calendar and curating knowledge and lessons learned;
  • Serving as project manager for select publications, multimedia, and other content;
  • Monitoring media coverage of Surdna’s initiatives, grantee and partner activities;
  • Helping to develop learning activities related to communications for Foundation staff, board members, and partners; and
  • Supporting activities for the Andrus Family Philanthropy program, which offers a community of learning, engagement, and action for Andrus family members across generations.
  • Researching and staying current on communications best practices and trends.
  • Participating and collaborating on internal organizational development initiatives

Relationship Management
  • Maintaining the Foundation’s database of external and Andrus Family contacts.
  • Serving as the day-to-day contact for communications consultants and vendors;
  • Routing media requests and other external inquiries;
  • Helping to obtain feedback from grantees and other partners;
  • Working with the Office of Learning and Grants Management to help create, support, and maintain internal structures and systems for cross-program information sharing;
  • Working with colleagues to design presentation materials for internal and external communications.

Administrative Duties
The Program Associate will also help with other tasks and administrative activities to support Surdna’s communications team, including:
  • Managing scheduling and logistics for meetings and events;
  • Serving as lead on grants administration; and
  • Coordinating budget management and reconciliation.


Ideal Experience and Personal Qualities

  • A commitment to and enthusiasm for the Surdna Foundation’s mission to advance social justice and racial equity, and its organizational values of justice, equity, inclusion, respect, humility, and family;
  • Detail oriented, with excellent writing, editing, and verbal communication skills;
  • Prior experience in writing-intensive positions, such as journalism, public relations, and storytelling;
  • 2-5 years of previous experience in a relevant field, preferably with some prior work in the philanthropic sector.
  • Strong knowledge of or willingness and ability to learn how to use software and tools for social media, website content management, online survey tools, desktop publishing, customer-relationship management, and video production;
  • A high-level of emotional intelligence, and an innate capacity to be creative, proactive, entrepreneurial, and solutions-oriented;
  • Willingness to serve as a thought partner to the Director of Communications and Engagement and other colleagues;
  • Desire to work across all of Surdna’s programs in a collaborative spirit with the staff, board, and our grantee partners;
  • A commitment to ethical standards, transparency, and accountability

Compensation & Benefits

This position has a minimum starting salary of $60,000, in accordance with our established pay band structure. As a full-time position, total compensation includes an excellent comprehensive employee benefits package.

How to Apply

Submit your application through our online hiring portal by February 19, 2021. No phone calls please.


Surdna Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQIA+ applicants.