The Surdna 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. We seek to dismantle the structural barriers that limit opportunity for many, helping to create communities that are prosperous, culturally enriching, and sustainable.

In too many communities, low quality jobs and the lack of career pathways limit the ability of workers to achieve financial stability and upward economic mobility. However, some businesses and organizations are already proving that providing employees with fair wages, benefits, and career training can have positive impacts on their bottom line, employees' economic well-being, and a community's prosperity. At the same time, government, the private sector, organized labor, worker centers, community-based organizations, and other sectors are collaborating more than ever before. The Strong Local Economies Program aims to capitalize on this collaboration to improve the quality of jobs in the lower wage sectors of our economy while at the same time creating access to career pathways to good jobs in emerging industries (e.g., advanced manufacturing, clean tech, biotech).


Prioritize and engage low-income individuals, communities of color, women, and immigrants;

Utilize policy advocacy, organizing, and capacity building as approaches;

Use both research and demonstration projects/programs to prove the benefits of equitable economic development and quality jobs;

Leverage the buying power of anchor institutions (universities, hospitals, local/regional government, schools, sports teams, etc.) to drive local economic growth;

Increase leadership capacity among populations who have been historically excluded from decision-making processes (low income, immigrant, and communities of color);

Utilize strategic communications to make the case for including equity and sustainability in development decisions ;

Work in urban areas and in a regional context.


330 Madison Ave., 30th Floor

New York, NY 10017

(212) 557-0010