Sustainable Environments

Land Use Through Community Power

The Outcomes We Seek

Increased Community Control, Ownership, and Stewardship of Land and Infrastructure

We seek to advance policies, strategies and tactics that support community-led planning on land use and infrastructure developments and community-driven alternatives that promote ownership and stewardship of land.

Increased Organizing & Advocacy Practices

We champion increased organizing and advocacy practices that hold public and private sector infrastructure development actors accountable to communities of color and low-wealth communities in their planning, land use and development practices.  We place an emphasis on supporting advocacy efforts led by low-wealth communities and communities of color.

Increased Community-Led Planning & Community Designed Alternatives

We foster greater knowledge about alternatives designed by and for frontline communities to current infrastructure systems and ensure that information is widely accessible to communities of color and low-wealth communities as well as to public and private sector actors that can advance more equitable practices.

Increased Democratic Participation

We seek to increase democratic engagement among people who are politically marginalized due to race and/or income as well as promote leadership, capacity building and deep investment in leaders of color to support long-term power building and self-determination.

We believe that people who are most disproportionately impacted by discriminatory land use practices are best positioned to inform the decisions regarding their community assets and infrastructure.

The goal of the Land Use Through Community Power strategy is to create the conditions necessary to build community power to promote community ownership, and stewardship of critical community assets and infrastructure. By building community power, communities of color and low-wealth communities will have the agency to guide investments and will have the opportunity to create alternative systems that promote racially, environmentally and economically just outcomes.

We work to promote policies, strategies, and tactics that support true community-led planning and successful campaigns to establish permanent, and community-controlled, land use decisions that lead to community power while creating improved environmental quality in a manner that serves community needs and disrupts the current cycle of disinvestment and gentrification. We believe that by investing in alternative pathways to wealth creation and ownership, we help to ensure that everyone benefits from development and investment.

Grants under this strategy will be announced beginning October 2018.
To view other Sustainable Environments grants, please click here.

December 5, 2018

How NFG is Disrupting Funder-Grantee Dynamics

Helen Chin has just led the Surdna Foundation’s Sustainable Environments Program through a strategy refinement process. “Now,” she says, with satisfaction, “We are able to connect more robustly with what’s bubbling from the ground…

Staff Perspectives
October 11, 2018

Philanthropic Leadership Means Following the Frontlines

When we talk about “building the capacity” of frontline and grassroots leaders who are changing structures, policies, and systems, what does that really mean for funders? Many funders use antiquated and static systems of inquiry to identify and…

March 29, 2017

PUSH Buffalo, Featured on PRI's The World

When you’re poor, you have to make tough choices. “I couldn’t afford to pay my heat bill. My gas got turned off,” says Bob Cook, who lost his $30,000-a-year job a few years back while working…