Surdna Foundation: Grants for Film

OVERVIEW: The Surdna Foundation does not award a large number of film-related grants each year, so grant seekers 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 seeks 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.” 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’s ability to 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 prioritizes artists’ 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 from $10,000 to over $300,000. Most grants for film average $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.


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