Surdna Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: The Surdna Foundation funds nonprofit organizations in the U.S. through its strong local economies, sustainable communities and thriving cultures initiatives.

IP TAKE: The Surdna Foundation’s initiatives are strong local economies, sustainable communities and thriving cultures. K-12 funding stems from the foundations thriving cultures program, which supports teens’ artistic and cultural advancement. This funder accepts letters of inquiry on an ongoing basis.

PROFILE: The Surdna Foundation was founded in 1917 by John Emory Andrus, an investor and entrepreneur best known as the owner of the Arlington Chemical Company. The foundation aims 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 Surdna Foundation’s funding initiatives are strong local economies, sustainable environments and thriving cultures.

The Surdna Foundation supports K-12 education through its thriving cultures initiative, which prioritizes teens’ artistic and cultural advancement. This funding line invests in programs provide teens with “artistically rigorous and culturally relevant” training as a means of developing “practical and life-enhancing skills.” The foundation prioritizes organizations that serve low-income and minority populations, maintain high artistic standards and use artistic expression in the interests of justice and sustainability. The Penumbra Theatre Company in St. Paul, Minnesota used funding to run a summer theater institute for teens, and in San Francisco, another grantee, the Youth Speaks national poetry organization, provided support and mental health programs for teen poets.

Surdna Foundation grants range from $25,000 to $1 million, with most grants falling between $50,000 and $300,000. Funding is limited to nonprofit organizations in the U.S. A grants database is available on the foundation website.

This funder accepts letters of inquiry on an ongoing basis.

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