Doris Duke Charitable Foundation


The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties.


Established in 1996 in NY - Founded by the late Doris Duke, the only child of James Buchanan Duke, a founder of the American Tobacco company and Duke Energy Company. Upon his death in 1925, J.B. Duke's fortune was divided between his 12-year-old daughter and the Duke Endowment, the foundation he established to serve the people of the Carolinas. Although Doris Duke lived a private life, she contributed to a number of public causes. She was an active supporter of medical research and child welfare throughout her life. When she was just 21, she established a foundation called Independent Aid, which later became the Doris Duke Foundation. It is estimated that she gave away more than $400 million in current dollars during her lifetime, often as anonymous contributions. Doris Duke died in October 1993 at the age of 80. In her will, she left the majority of her estate to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Grantmaking Programs

Child Well-being Program

Beginning in late 2011, the Child Well-being Program (then called the Child Abuse Prevention Program) began a process of reflection and consultation, concluded in late 2012, and led to a reframing of the program mission statement to focus more directly on child well-being as the primary desired outcome and to a revision of the application of its strategy goals. The mission of the program is to promote children’s healthy development and protect them from abuse and neglect. It favors a public health approach and is especially interested in place-based, whole-community approaches that seek to engage a range of participants from various disciplines to ensure that family wellbeing is supported by strong communities. Unsolicited proposals are not being considered at this time.

Employee Matching Gifts

The foundation matches the contributions of its employees to charitable organizations.

Clinical Research Experiences for High School Students

The program provides clinical research and enrichment activities for high school students from underrepresented minorities in medicine, with the long-term goal of increasing the diversity of the biomedical research workforce. The program is administered through nine institutions with established research programs for students from minority groups that are underrepresented in medicine. Each institution is responsible for overseeing the selection of up to10 students per year and providing a mentored, clinically relevant research experience.See foundation web site for a list of participating institutions.

Clinical Scientist Development Award

The program provides grants to junior physician-scientists to facilitate their transition to independent clinical research careers. It was created to provide mentored research funding to early career physician-scientist faculty to enable their transition to independence. All applicants are required to complete a web-based questionnaire assessing their eligibility to apply for this award. If eligibility criteria are met, applicants will be automatically directed to the web-based pre-proposal form. It is strongly suggested that potential applicants see the foundation web site to review the Request for Applications page prior to accessing the eligibility questionnaire.

Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award

The program recognizes outstanding mid-career physician-scientists who are applying the latest scientific advances to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of disease, and enables them to mentor the next generation of physician-scientists conducting clinical research. Distinguished Clinical Scientist Awards provide grants of up to $1.5 million over five to seven years. New grants are not currently being offered. To be notified of future competitions, sign up for the Medical Research Program's mailing on program's web page.

African Health Initiative (AHI)

The African Health Initiative seeks to catalyze significant advances in strengthening health systems by supporting partnerships that will design, implement and evaluate large-scale models of care that link implementation research and workforce training directly to the delivery of integrated primary healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa. Grants will be awarded to create Population Health Implementation and Training (PHIT) Partnerships to implement strategies to: 1) Provide integrated primary healthcare and achieve significant, measurable health improvements for underserved communities of between 300,000 and 1.6 million people; 2) Strengthen health systems in a manner that enables local and national governments to sustain improvements beyond the grant period; 3) Increase the knowledge available for evidence-based health systems planning through rigorous operations and implementation research. Research conducted by each PHIT partnership will measure the impact of their interventions on reducing child mortality and other health outcomes, in addition to analyzing indicators of health systems performance. The partnerships will participate in a data collaborative to share information and will be convened annually starting in the fall of 2009. The foundation is also committed to ensuring that relevant data and information collected by the partnerships be made available to the public.

International Clinical Research Fellowship

The program provides fellowships for U.S.-based medical students to take a year out from school to conduct mentored clinical research in developing countries.The long-term goal of this program is to develop the next generation of clinical investigators working in global health.It is administered through six U.S. medical schools with established programs in global health research. Each school is responsible for overseeing the selection of applicants and providing the mentored research experience. Each institution will offer three fellowships per year. Students must be matriculated at a U.S.-based medical school to be eligible for the fellowship. See foundation web site for a list of participating schools.

Clinical Research Mentorship

The program provides previously funded Doris Duke investigators the opportunity to foster the next generation of clinical researchers by mentoring a medical student for one year.Each mentor is required to provide a 12-month, full-time clinical research experience for the student mentee. Each mentee must be willing to take 12 months out from medical school, typically after the third year of school. Teams receive $64,800 over one year, inclusive of a $29,000 stipend for the student.New grants are not being offered at this time.

Strengthening The Conservation Field

The program has adopted the following approaches to strengthen organizations focused on the conservation and management of wildlife habitat: 1) Diversifying the workforce. The foundation seeks to increase the number of people from urban, under-represented communities in the conservation workforce; 2) Increasing public conservation funding. Achieving the protection of wildlife habitat at the necessary scale requires resources beyond what private foundations can provide. Significant public investments in land conservation are also needed and the foundation supports a number of organizations that aim to increase public funding for wildlife habitat conservation in the United States; 3) Building the capacity of the land trust community. Through land capital grants, the foundation relies upon non-profit land trusts to secure interests in land from private landowners to permanently protect high-priority wildlife habitat.

Land Conservation in an Era of Climate Change

The foundation's grant-making is designed to provide frameworks and concrete examples of how practitioners can protect biodiversity in light of climate change through strategic land conservation. The program's adaptation efforts focus on three critical land conservation activities undertaken by non-profit organizations and government natural resource agencies: A) Habitat conservation planning (i.e., the identification of which sites should be conserved in their natural state to benefit wildlife); B) Permanent land protection (i.e., the acquisition of conservation easements or fee title to secure high priority sites); and C) Management of lands already in protected status. The goal for each of these activities is to encourage the conservation community to augment the dominant species-based approach to wildlife conservation with a focus on maintaining ecosystem functionality as climate change takes hold. The program has adopted three approaches to achieve its objectives: 1) Identifying resilient landscapes; 2) Protecting resilient landscapes; and 3) Managing conserved lands.

Wildlife and Energy Development

As the United States shifts to a more climate-friendly system of power generation, the footprint of energy development across the landscape is expanding.Concerted efforts are needed now to help ensure that clean-energy facilities are built expeditiously but in a way that does not destroy or fragment wildlife habitat more than necessary. The foundation pursues these objectives by the following approaches: 1) Siting of renewable energy infrastructure. The program support efforts to inform government energy and land management policies that govern the siting of utility-scale solar, wind, and geothermal facilities, as well as related transmission lines; 2) Increasing energy efficiency in the buildings sector. The program works to reduce energy demand by focusing on increasing energy efficiency in the buildings sector.

Environment Stewardship in the Tri-State Area

The foundation supports wildlife habitat conservation, efficient built environments and connecting people living in urban areas with the environment through the following approaches:1) Support exemplary green projects and policies that improve the built and natural environment of New York City. Grants support ambitious efforts undertaken by New York City and nongovernmental organizations to reduce energy consumption in the building sector. In addition, its “urban greening” efforts focus on protecting natural areas in the five boroughs, as well as promoting urban agriculture and other forms of green infrastructure that can help the City achieve its ecological goals; 2) Support a sustainable agriculture system in the Tri-State area that benefits people and wildlife. Grants support a local, sustainable food system in New York City and its “food shed” (i.e., areas such as the Hudson River Valley and New Jersey) that features organic, regenerative, and wildlife-friendly farming practices.

Arts Program- Performing Artists Initiative

This is a special initiative of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), providing pioneering support to individual artists while adding $50 million to the foundation’s substantial existing commitment to contemporary dance, jazz, theatre and related interdisciplinary work. Over the course of ten years, the three-part Performing Artists Initiative will provide awards to more than 200 artists, as well as a range of dance companies, theaters and presenters. Unlike other grants, the new DDCF fellowships will not be project based. Instead, they will give artists flexible and unrestricted multi-year support, enabling them to take creative risks, explore new ideas and pay for important needs such as healthcare. The third sub-initiative will support artist residencies designed to increase demand for jazz, theatre, contemporary dance and related interdisciplinary work at nonprofit arts organizations. See foundation web site for specific award categories.

Arts Program- Artistic Creation & Distribution

Through national competitive initiatives administered by intermediary organizations, the foundation supports commissioning, production and presentation of new work in each of its fields of interest; Contemporary Dance, Jazz, Theatre and Multi-Disciplinary performing arts. Typically these re-granting programs offer additional benefits to supported artists, including professional development, networking opportunities and participation in conferences and other meetings. To receive funding, individual arts organizations and artists must apply to the intermediary organizations that administer DDCF-funded initiatives. The foundation does not make grants directly to producing or presenting organizations or to individual artists under this component of the Arts Program's strategy. Additional information about funding opportunities in each of these areas of interest is available on the foundation web site

Arts Program- Organizational Transformation

To complement its support for artistic creation and distribution, the Arts Program works to build strong organizations to serve performing artists. Through competitive initiatives administered by intermediary organizations, the foundation offers grants to support planning, technical assistance and implementation for bold, innovative approaches to addressing challenges facing the performing arts: the impact of technology, the loss of audiences and/ or changes in leadership. To receive funding, individual arts organizations and artists must apply to the intermediary organizations that administer DDCF-funded initiatives. The foundation does not make grants directly to producing or presenting organizations or to individual artists under this component of the Arts Program's strategy. Information about funding opportunities in the following areas can be found on foundation web site: 1) Dance/USA Engaging Dance Audiences Program; 2) EmcArts' Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts; 3) Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation jazz.NEXT Program; 4) Leading for the future: Innovative Support for Artistic Excellence; 5) Theatre Communications Group's Audience R(E)volution.

Arts Program- National Sector Building

The program supports activities that will build strong national performing arts fields. The Arts Program directly supports national organizations critical to the health of dance, jazz, presenting and theatre, as well as national projects that have the potential to improve the health of a given field. The program aims to help strengthen the national sector through two complementary initiatives: 1) Providing core support to select national arts organizations whose work is critical for the health of the dance, jazz, presenting and/or theatre fields; 2) Supporting select national projects that strengthen the national infrastructure of the dance, jazz, presenting and/or theatre fields. The Fund for National Projects is the only component of the Arts Program's strategy for which the foundation reviews applications from individual producing or presenting organizations and convenes expert panels to identify projects for direct DDCF support. For more information on these two areas, see foundation web site.

Innovations in Clinical Research Award

The program provides funding for early-stage research projects in clinical investigation to foster innovations in clinical research that advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. The award provides three-year grants of $486,000 each to investigators conducting clinical research that has the potential to accelerate innovative breakthroughs in sickle cell disease.

Grants to Individuals Program

Supports physician-scientists in the U.S. at different stages of their careers and innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to clinical research conducted with human subjects. Grants for projects selected through the RFP process are then made to non-profit medical institutions on behalf of individual investigators or project directors.

Program-Related Investment

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Capacity Building Program

This program is a national funding initiative to support efforts to foster organizational change in U.S. conservation organizations toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive field.