In our first 100 years the Surdna Foundation has made many notable accomplishments; but what we’re most proud of is that, at our core, we are a family foundation, spanning six generations. It’s for this reason that when our president, Phil Henderson, announced that he would pursue a new professional path, we felt it was the kind of bittersweet news a proud parent faces when one of their own children leaves home to pursue their dreams. Make no mistake, the Surdna Foundation will seriously miss Phil. We will miss his leadership, modesty and professionalism in representing our work and guiding us toward many achievements. And most of all, we will miss his enduring commitment to honoring and supporting Surdna’s service to the world of family philanthropy.
Phil Henderson, Surdna’s second president, joined the Foundation 10 years ago. Among his first contributions was leading Surdna to update our mission and sharpen our program areas by putting at our heart, the goal of fostering sustainable communities guided by principles of social justice. Ever nimble and flexible, Phil led us through our learning journey as we worked together to improve the quality of our work. In addition, Phil shared Surdna’s way of grantmaking and lessons learned along the way, helping Surdna to develop a respected voice in the field. His bold leadership positioned Surdna for a capstone year – our Centennial, where many of his greatest accomplishments came to fruition.
During Phil’s leadership, the Surdna Foundation made one of its largest and most significant grants, $4.5 million for strengthening community voices; it allocated $100 million for impact investing; contributed deeply to the field of family philanthropy; and developed publications sharing our work in Social Justice, Multi-generational Family Foundation Board Engagement, and Impact Investing. Any of these successes is notable in its own right, but collectively they represent a decade of Phil’s dedication and a significant chapter in the Foundation’s history.
On behalf of the board of directors, I wish to thank Phil for his extraordinary service. We have been blessed by his leadership and are thankful for his contributions to the field of social justice and family philanthropy. We wish him the very best as he pursues the next opportunity in his professional career and we look forward to working together until his successor is named. Finally, we look forward to building upon his strong track record as we enter our second century.
Peter Benedict IISurdna Foundation Board Chair