In 2000, with bold ideas anchored by John Emory Andrus’ philanthropic beliefs and his emphasis on the bond of family, a group of fourth-generation Surdna Board members created the Andrus Family Philanthropy Program (AFPP). The goal of the program was simple: to engage future generations of the broader family. Along with AFPP, the Andrus Family Fund (AFF) was simultaneously launched to provide opportunities for younger family members to learn about and participate in organized philanthropy. Over time, AFPP and AFF have matured and evolved to meet the family’s and Surdna’s ever-changing needs, but the heart of the programs remains consistent: to bring together Andrus family members for the greater good.

One of the AFPP’s main goals is not only to foster a sense of philanthropic values and inspire service within the Andrus family but also to meet people where they are in their philanthropic journey and provide varied opportunities for engagement. Former AFPP Chair and Surdna Board member Kelly Nowlin (fifth generation) understands the importance of this better than most. “We’ve created family programs that invite all family members to learn about social justice, to have dialogue across differences, and to reflect on their own lived experiences. That can sometimes be challenging, but we don’t shy away from it. We’ve encouraged all family members, at any age, to discover what their calling is and get involved,” Kelly shares.

Two years ago, as the AFPP celebrated its 20th anniversary, the program underwent a strategy refinement and identified inclusivity as one of its four guiding principles. This summer, the AFPP Committee recruited new members and for the first time, board representatives from Andrus on Hudson, Andrus Children’s Center, and a recent participant of the Board Experiential Training Program (BETs) are included on the committee. The newly expanded AFPP Committee will help foster a community of learning, engagement, and connection across generations of the Andrus family and its philanthropies.

Additionally, many thoughtful and intentional steps have been taken within the AFPP’s offerings to be more inclusive of the entire family. The Social Justice Series was created to amplify voices and provide a space for family members to learn about specific social justice topics and respectfully engage with one another while learning about Surdna’s work.

New programs, like BETs 2, were created to offer engagement opportunities to age groups that did not previously have programs available to them. Additionally, an Alumni Program will launch in 2024 for AFPP participants to remain connected to the family, its philanthropies and history, and learning and public service opportunities.

Read the full article about inclusive family philanthropy by Katie Leh at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.