The Outcomes We Seek

  • Increased public and private funding to artists of color, arts nonprofits, and creative businesses led by people of color

  • Increased policies in public and private institutions that work effectively to close racial disparities

  • Increased democratic engagement among communities of color


Animation of artists creating, connecting and clarifying

Place-based Exemplars

What We Fund: 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 (The organization works with its community to imagine and practice racially just systems and structures.), Clarify (The organization has programs in place to translate ideas and learning from projects into knowledge products that can be consumed by broader audiences.), and Connect (The organization has systems and programs in place to connect this knowledge to opportunities for structural change.)–on a local scale within the United States, including on tribal lands and in U.S. territories. This funding initiative is intended to be temporary and catalytic so that we have the capacity to support as many organizations as possible over time.
Accepting letters of intent: No


Artist Regranting

What We Fund: 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.
Accepting letters of intent: No


Art X Immersive Technology

What We Fund: We support nonprofit and for-profit immersive-technology platforms (including, but not limited to, extended reality, virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, and artificial intelligence) that are led by and are for people of color. We support artists, culture-bearers, designers, and media-makers of color who pursue immersive technology as an artistic medium to practice and imagine a racially just future. We also support partners prepared to engage in regulatory/policy opportunities that would reduce or eliminate racial bias in these technologies. We also invest in a small number of distribution platforms that focus on the distribution of works by artists of color and can reimagine the value propositions and wealth-building opportunities for artists of color working in these mediums.
Accepting letters of intent: No


Selection Criteria

General Selection Criteria
  • Demonstrated alignment with Surdna’s six core values
  • Primarily led by and for people of color, artists, women, and/or lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans/gender-nonconforming people (staff, board, review panels, juries, etc.)
  • Informed and capable leadership and staff with the ability to identify and articulate the intersection of race and power with other systems, including, but not limited to, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, ability, and class.
  • Demonstrated relationships and a history of trust with frontline, grassroots, and/or under-resourced communities
  • Expansive definition of “artist” that includes, but is not limited to, culture-bearers, designers, architects, and media-makers
  • Capacity to serve as an ambassador to the field for achieving racial justice outcomes through cultural strategies
  • Experience, ability, and capacity working with civic- and socially engaged artists
  • Openness to sharing learning opportunities with the staff and board of the Foundation and with other Surdna partners by participating in a community of practice
Additional selection criteria for Artist Regranting
  • Demonstrated capacity to think holistically about the needs of artists beyond financial investment (e.g., networks, capacity-building, convenings, professional development, access to publicity)
  • Demonstrated experience designing artist grant programs that have built-in learning opportunities
  • Demonstrated capacity to work with artists of color and artists working in alternative spaces


You can see all grants given under our Create strategy below.
And explore other Thriving Cultures grants in our database.

Related News & Insights

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Helicon Collaborative recently released Not Just Money: Equity Issues in Cultural Philanthropy, a research study conducted with funding from the Surdna Foundation. The study continues Helicon's examination of inequities in arts funding in the…

March 10, 2017
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You can see all grants given under our Create strategy below.
And explore other Thriving Cultures grants in our database.