Judilee Reed, Surdna Foundation

TITLE: Program Director, Thriving Cultures

FUNDING AREAS: Performing arts, visual arts, dance, theater, building artist communities, artist business training, and art and social change

CONTACT: jreed@surdna.org, 212-557-0010

IP TAKE: With a BFA in painting, a BA in art history, and years of experience in the non-profit arts world, Reed is a pretty well-rounded director at Surdna.

PROFILE: As director of Surdna's Thriving Cultures Program, Judilee Reed oversees all the good stuff in the arts world. She carries out Surdna's aim to support artists and cultural organizations that are helping to explore shared values and sparking "innovation, imagination and advancement in communities." Thriving Cultures is one of the foundation's three grantmaking categories, alongside Sustainable Environments and Strong Local Economies. The program was founded on the belief that communities with a robust arts and culture scene are more cohesive and prosperous and benefit from the diversity of their people.

At the time of Reed's hire, Surdna President Phillip Henderson commented, "She brings exceptional creative vision and programming experience, and her broad knowledge of community-building will add to the Foundation's cross-program and collaborative style of work. Judilee has always been committed to the power of art in communities and shares Surdna's view of the importance of equity." Reed joined the foundation in 2011, replacing Ellen B. Rudolph, who previously served for close to 18 years and continues to be active with the organization.

Reed joined the program during a marked expansion of its offerings, including the founding of new initiatives to strengthen artists and cultural organizations engaging in social change efforts (Artists Engaging in Social Change) and providing a voice for disadvantaged cultural groups in the planning of public spaces (Community Engaged Design).

The Thriving Cultures Program also supports the arts in two other areas: Teens' Artistic and Cultural Advancement helps teenagers explore their cultural identity through artistic training programs to equip them with skills needed to achieve their educational and career goals. And Artists Engaging in Social Change acknowledges and supports the role of artists in social change.

Prior to joining Surdna, Reed was executive director of Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), a 10-year national initiative to improve the conditions for artists across all disciplines. Her work there encompassed expanding the offerings of community-centered arts organizations, improving artists' access to information about health-care policies, and generating awareness of the increasingly diverse demographics of communities in the United States. She is also a former program and resource manager at the New England Foundation for the Arts, where she helped design programs and manage fundraising efforts for the National Dance Project and the Art & Community Landscapes program, a public art program in partnership with the National Park Service.

Reed also previously managed the Cambodian Artists Project, another 10-year program founded to develop the capacity of Cambodian performing artists in the United States and in Cambodia (now a part of the LINC program). Reed has also served on dozens of panels and review committees, including the Fast Track program of the National Endowment for the Arts. She's also well-rounded academically. Reed holds a bachelor's in art history and a bachelor's in fine arts (for painting) from the University of New Hampshire; she also attended Harvard Business School. So she knows creative and she knows business; it's no surprise so many organizations have wanted her on their team.

Recent grantees of the Thriving Cultures Program include the Boston Arts Academy Foundation, the National Association Of Latino Arts & Culture in Texas, and the Penumbra Theatre Company in Minnesota. Grant amounts run the gamut, with some reaching $750,000 on the upper end. There are specific guidelines for each area of funding within the program, and overall the foundation does not generally award individuals, academic fellowships, for-profit entities, in-school art programs, or capital campaigns or endowments.

Surdna awards more than $38 million in grants each year to hundreds of nonprofits, with total assets of approximately $850 million.