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 the prevention of child abuse, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. Established in 1996, the Foundation supports four national grant-making programs. It also supports three properties that were owned by Doris Duke—in Hillsborough, New Jersey; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Newport, Rhode Island—all of which are open to the public for educational and recreational purposes. The Foundation awarded its first grants in 1997. To date, the Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $1 billion.
Given the guidance provided by Doris Duke’s will and her interests during her life, the Foundation’s Arts Program focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz and theatre artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them. As of December 31, 2011, the Arts Program had approved approximately 255 grants totaling approximately $224 million.
The Doris Duke Performing Artists Initiative is a $50 million special initiative of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation above and beyond the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to jazz, theatre, contemporary dance and related interdisciplinary work. Over the course of ten years, the three-part Performing Artists Initiative will provide awards—through the Awards Program—to more than 200 artists, as well as support at least 50 partnerships between artists and dance companies, theaters, presenting organizations and/or select service organizations. The Initiative, approximately five years in the making, was made possible by the efforts of the Arts Program staff, particularly former Program Director Ben Cameron and Senior Program Officer Cheryl Ikemiya; Foundation President Ed Henry; and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation board.