Surdna Foundation Switches from Youth Development to the Environment

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The New York-based Surdna Foundation is refocusing its grant making to concentrate on fostering just and sustainable communities across the nation through three new grant-making streams – Sustainable Environments, Strong Local Economics and Thriving Cultures.

Through these new programs, Surdna will work with communities to support green jobs, affordable transportation and housing and economic opportunity, as well as the general goal of giving all community members a chance for success.

The shift is a major one, from the emphasis on youth and civic engagement championed by former director Robert Sherman. Sherman fostered Surdna’s Effective Citizenry program for 15 years, before leaving a year ago to become the executive director of Mercy Corps’s Action Center to End World Hunger. Effective Citizenry emphasized helping develop youth into leaders by working on their skills in order to build better communities.

With its new mission, Surdna Foundation plans to organize collaborative efforts with other programs, and to develop its grant-making systems and solutions for sustainable communities.

“We see a sustainable community as a place that uses environmental innovation to secure a livable environment over the long term, enables the establishment of a strong and resilient local economy, and celebrates a vibrant cultural life for all community members, regardless of background,” Surdna Foundation President Phillip Henderson said in a statement.

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