Tulane center gets $225K from Surdna Foundation

The Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design at the Tulane School of Architecture was recently awarded a three-year, $225,000 grant from the Surdna Foundation.

The Surdna Foundation has a mission to foster sustainable communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies and thriving cultures.

“Surdna has been an incredible partner to the Small Center as we’ve built on a decade of work in community design and deepened our commitment to working with, rather than merely for, our partners and their constituents,” said Small Center director Maggie Hansen.

Formerly the Tulane City Center, the Small Center’s work aligns perfectly with the Surdna Foundation’s philanthropic goals. With a mission of working with community groups throughout New Orleans to address difficult problems through good design, the Small Center brings together creative makers and doers to help those underserved by the design disciplines.

Since 2011, Surdna funding has enabled the Small Center to complete several projects: from refurbishing the facades of historic properties in Central City and building an environmental learning facility in the Lower Ninth Ward to the design and opening of Parisite Skate Park, the city’s first public skate park, and more. The Foundation also supported the creation of a full-time community engagement position.

“My role is to situate our projects within a broader urban context,” said public programs manager Sue Mobley. “We democratize the design field by supporting advocacy, convening diverse stakeholders, and educating the public on issues surrounding the built environment.”

This gift allows the Small Center to maintain its current level of operations over the next three years. It reflects Surdna’s faith in the Center’s ability to continue operating at the intersection of design and civic engagement for years to come.

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