OVERVIEW: The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) is one of the largest grantmakers in the performing arts arena. It leans heavily in the direction of supporting larger institutions in the creation and public performance of their work, although it does support individual artists through grants administered by intermediaries. The foundation is also support projects that work on building demand for the arts and promoting organizations that develop wider audiences for (primarily contemporary) dance.
IP TAKE: Individuals and small dance troops and organizations are best served by going through DDCF's intermediaries. It does not accept unsolicited proposals, but does take letters of inquiry.
PROFILE: 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."
DDCF primarily supports two types of major organizations: established dance institutions and organizations that make grants and provide support to individuals and smaller dance companies. The foundation has four major grantmaking strategies:
Artistic Creation and Distribution - This competitive initiative supports the commissioning, production, and presentation of new works. DDCF does not currently offer grants directly through this initiative; rather they are offered through intermediaries, the Creative Capital Foundation, the National Performance Network, and the New England Foundation for the Arts.
Support for Organizations - Grants awarded under this initiative focus on supporting innovative approaches to addressing current concerns, such as audience engagement and retention, in the performing arts. Currently DDCF offers grants through the Dance/USA Engaging Dance Audiences Program (for engagement), the EMCArts Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts (for developing strategies to address challenges facing the arts), and the Theatre Communications Group's Audience Re(E)volution (for audience engagement and community development).
National Sector Building - The grant funds awarded in this initiative support the rebuilding and strengthening of national performing arts fields. The program is limited to national organizations.
Unrestricted Support for Artists - The DDCF provides support to individual artists through the United States Artists Doris Duke Fellows program, administered by United States Artists. These $50,000 are given to individuals and small collectives, but applications are only accepted on the basis of nominations by United States Artists.
Note that the foundation doesn't take unsolicited proposals, but does accept letters of inquiry.