Giving Compass’ Take:
• Dustin Sposato at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors discusses the history and work of the Surdna Foundation.
• Why is it significant that the Surdna Foundation utilizes a systems change approach when focusing on social justice?
• Read more about what social justice means at the Surdna Foundation.
Founded in 1917, the New York City-based Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States, guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures.
The Surdna Foundation’s core framework is defined by a stewarded charter with a social compact that holds the Foundation accountable to advancing the issues it seeks to support as well as the Andrus family legacy. The Foundation has historically taken a quiet and collaborative approach to its work, with social justice and systems change at the core.
The Foundation’s name (Andrus spelled backwards) and low public profile are examples of how the value of modesty has permeated the Foundation’s operations. Leadership and staff have historically used the Foundation’s public platform to elevate the work of the grantees rather than to highlight the work of the Foundation itself. As the Foundation celebrates its centennial, it is beginning to think about how it might do both.
The Foundation makes long-term and sustained commitments, taking a systems change approach. Staff members partner with grantees in a variety of ways, being supportive and learning from them in an effort to advance the work.
Nearly a decade ago, the Surdna Foundation created its current mission statement: “To foster sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures.” The creation of this statement, which centers on social justice and community, had implications that rippled throughout the Foundation, resulting in the operating capabilities and approaches that exist today.
Read the full article about the Surdna Foundation by Dustin Sposato at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
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