OVERVIEW: The Surdna Foundation does not award a large number of film-related grants each year, so grantseekers can expect a good deal of competition.
IP TAKE: Filmmakers should note that Surdna does not make grants to individuals but to film and/or production organizations.
PROFILE: The Surdna Foundation was established in 1917 as the principle philanthropic vehicle of founder John Andrus. The foundation’s mission is to build strong and sustainable local economies throughout the United States. Those seeking grants for filmmaking should look to Surdna’s Thriving Cultures program.
The Thriving Cultures program has four subprograms that revolve around arts and culture and how they promote sustainable local communities. Filmmakers should seek out the subprograms Artists and Economic Development, and Artists Engaging in Social Change.
The Artists and Economic Development program focuses heavily on artists and their contribution to local economic development. The program funds organizations that operate business and training programs for artists and cultural organizations and those offering financing to artists and artist-centered organizations.
The Artists Engaging in Social Change program concentrates its funding on organizations that contribute to cultural identity and act as catalysts for social change in their communities. Grants go to groups that deepen a community's understanding of diverse cultures through art and those that support artists whose work promotes local diversity, values and traditions.
Grants through both programs range anywhere from $10,000 to over $300,000. Most grants for film come in at $100,000 to $150,000. To learn more about the types of organizations and projects Surdna supports, as well as levels of support, check out the foundation’s searchable grants database.
The Surdna Foundation accepts letters of inquiry on a rolling basis throughout the year.
- Phillip Henderson, President
- Betsy Fader, Vice President, Programs
- Judilee Reed, Program Director, Thriving Cultures
- Jessica Garz, Program Officer, Thriving Cultures