Thriving Cultures

Radical Imagination for Racial Justice

The Thriving Cultures Program is guided by Radical Imagination for Racial Justice, our future-oriented, world-building strategy, which is organized across three interconnected grantmaking approaches:

  • Create invests (through regranting organizations) in artists of color who work with communities of color to imagine and build racially just systems and structures at a local scale.
  • Clarify invests in researchers and cultural critics of color to interpret and disseminate knowledge about the work of artists and to build a more equitable research and criticism infrastructure.
  • Connect advances the role of artists and communities of color in shaping public policy, narrative change, and philanthropic practices that advance racial justice.

What We Do Not Fund

Our grantmaking does not support:

  • Individuals (However, we do fund organizations that make grants to individual artists.)
  • Capital campaigns or building construction
  • Projects that are based or focused outside of the United States, tribal lands, or U.S. territories
  • Purchase of equipment
  • Awards, scholarships, or endowment funds

Grants are made by invitation only. We are not accepting unsolicited inquiries or letters of intent at this time.

The Change We Seek

The Thriving Cultures Program seeks to foster the conditions in which artists of color, guided by radical imagination, are leaders in the cultivation of a racially just society.

Area of Focus

The Thriving Cultures Program makes investments according to the following approaches:


Place-based Exemplars
We fund up to three nonprofit arts and culture organizations per year that embody all three approaches of the Radical Imagination for Racial Justice strategy: Create, Clarify, and Connect.

Art X Immersive Technology
We support nonprofit and for-profit immersive technology platforms and related work led by and for people of color.

Artist Regranting
We fund nonprofit arts organizations and intermediaries that have the capacity to make direct, sizable grants to individual artists, artist collectives, and small arts organizations of color for community-based collaborative projects that imagine and practice the racially just systems and structures of the future.

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Participatory Action Research
We fund research institutions to implement a national program to study Surdna-funded artist projects.

Cultural Criticism
We fund initiatives and collaboratives that strengthen networks and build infrastructure for cultural critics of color.

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Policy Advocacy/Movement Convenings
We fund organizations that convene artists, researchers, and cultural critics of color together with public policy and social movement leaders to advance shared racial justice outcomes.

Narrative Change
We fund organizations that seek to shift narratives toward those that promote the democratic participation of communities of color and create the conditions for a racially just society.

Philanthropic Influence
We fund place-based initiatives that incentivize local arts philanthropies to close racial disparities in grantmaking.

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Inclusive Economies

The Inclusive Economies Program fosters the creation of an inclusive and equitable economy in which people of color can maximize their potential as leaders, creators, and innovators across sectors.

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Sustainable Environments

The Sustainable Environments program seeks to support communities of color and low-wealth communities to direct infrastructure and land use investment dollars, drive decision-making processes and design policy solutions because those who are disproportionately impacted by environmental and climate inequity have the most powerful solutions to resolve these inequities.


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