Phillip Henderson Announces Transition as President of the Surdna Foundation

Dear Colleagues,

At Surdna’s early November board meeting, I informed the board of my intention to step down from my post as soon as they have identified a successor.  I am proud of the work we have done at the Foundation since I arrived in 2007, and I believe it is time for me to move on and also time to bring in a new leader to propel the Foundation forward.

I am very proud to have helped Surdna close out its first century with some notable achievements.  We put pursuing socially just and sustainable communities in the United States at the heart of the Foundation’s mission.  We found our voice in the pursuit of social justice particularly in communities of color across the country.  We made important contributions supporting the rebirth of New Orleans in the decade after Katrina.  We even committed $100 million of our endowment to investments that align with our mission.  And through all this we remain a multi-generational, family-governed foundation with a great many family members steering the Foundation, ensuring that it continues to live up to the vision and values of its founder, John E. Andrus. 

Over my time here, I have had the privilege of serving alongside colleagues who have helped me learn more deeply about social justice and equity, who have introduced me to amazing leaders and their innovative ideas, and who have helped me grow as a leader throughout these past 10 years.

Now, as Surdna enters its second century, it is time for new leadership and new vision to build on the excellent work of our board and staff.  While change is never easy, I believe the Foundation is ready for it. I also believe that this change will push the Foundation forward in new and exciting ways.

The board will launch a national search in early 2018. I will be doing everything I can during this period to create a smooth transition to new leadership. 

Over the past 25 years, I have worked to empower people and communities, to bolster democratic practice, and to help improve the lives of many in the United States and abroad.  As I move on from Surdna, I look forward to continuing to help make positive social change in the world.  I’m excited about the possibilities before me and to see the great work of Surdna continue under new leadership.


Phillip Henderson