The Enterprise Foundation: Surdna Foundation, 1982

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (Duke)



Case Study Sector


The Enterprise Foundation was conceived as an intermediary organization that would harness private and government capital to help build affordable housing for the poor. It would offer grants, low-interest loans, and equity investments, and would not shy away from the hardest cases: people with dim financial prospects and neighborhoods with histories of violence and poverty. The work of the Enterprise Foundation is similar to that of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), another intermediary organization started by the Ford Foundation to help secure funds for community development. Enterprise, however, is very “social welfare oriented” and has, therefore, maintained a firm commitment to taking on the most difficult cases.
The Surdna Foundation has been a consistent supporter of the Enterprise Foundation, making a number of grants for infrastructure development, including strategic planning, new program development, fund-raising capacity building, and more. Since 1990, Surdna has given to Enterprise grants worth $1.07 million for this sort of institution building. Surdna has also given $6 million to Living Cities: The National Community Development Initiative, which is co-managed by the Enterprise Foundation.



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