About Us

The Surfus Foundation is Grand Rapids, MI’s first LGBTQ+ foundation that will support the advancement of Michigan’s LGBTQ+ community in a variety of policy areas. Founded in 2010 as the Tolerance, Equality, and Awareness Movement (TEAM) and renamed in 2013 as The Council for Human Rights, The Surfus Foundation has evolved in its organizational lifecycle and is now named in honor of our Founder Dr. Chris Surfus, Ph.D.

Past successes include education and advocacy efforts with a broad coalition that ultimately led to the passage of the 2020 nondiscrimination ordinance in the City of Holland, Michigan, assisting corporations to adopt LGBTQ+ inclusive protections, advocating for bullied youth in our schools, taking on hate groups that violate our values, and pressing for changes in various policies to ensure the LGBTQ+ community is treated with dignity and respect in policy.

The Surfus Foundation will build upon its decade of work on advancing a 21st century human rights agenda to build a future we can all be proud of, no matter where you live or who you love. We will craft a programmatic vision for the future that will focus on access to housing, employment, health, and basic dignity. We will fundraise to support this vision, creating scholarships and grants along the way to build a diverse and inclusive Michigan where our people are empowered. Every step of the way, we will count on you to help bring us to a more inclusive future.

Our Mission

Our mission is to advance human rights by building a diverse and inclusive future for all of us.

Our Vision

To be a force for positive change and opportunity for the entire LGBTQ+ community by being a national leader in philanthropic endeavors.

Our Values



Every person deserves respect and to be listened to.


Every person deserves dignity in policy and practice.


Every person deserves equality under the law.


Every person deserves equal opportunity.


Every person deserves justice and it is our moral imperative to ensure the fulfillment of justice.

Anti-Racism and Nondiscrimination Statement

The Surfus Foundation understands the history of racism in behaviors, policy, and practice that started through colonization and is evident in the present-day United States. The Surfus Foundation is committed to advancing Anti-Racist principles and policies by seeking to address the root causes of racism. The Surfus Foundation seeks to change culture and power dynamics that perpetuate racist policies and practices. All elements of The Surfus Foundation’s programming include intentional actions to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Surfus Foundation uses the Equity in the Center Woke at Work framework, including the reporting of metrics to Candid (formerly GuideStar) for diversity, equity, and inclusion to advance transparency aspirations of The Surfus Foundation. The Surfus Foundation is committed to publicly reporting its progress and accomplishments on advancement of equity and representativeness in process and equity in outcomes.

The Surfus Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, national origin, race, ethnicity, national origin, color, religion, creed, sex, family or marital status, medical and genetic information, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, citizenship, weight, height, education, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, criminal record, and any other legally protected status.

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