NET WORTH: $20 million estimated
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Actress, Singer
FUNDING AREAS: Animals
OVERVIEW: An animal lover since she was a teen, Doris Day started her activism in 1971, when she co-founded Actors and Others for Animals, and soon after launched her own national grantmaking charity now called the Doris Day Animal Foundation. The foundation gives steadily to animal causes and has a strong web presence.
BACKGROUND: Doris Day was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She originally planned to be a professional dancer but instead pivoted to singing and acting. Day went on to record more than 650 songs and make 39 films, and was voted the Top Female Box Office Star four years in a row. In 1968, Day turned her attention to television, first with her hit comedy series, The Doris Day Show, and later Doris Day’s Best Friends, focusing on animals and their welfare. In 1989, Day received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, among her many honors.
DORIS DAY ANIMAL FOUNDATION: Day's longtime animal activism has its roots in her acting days. During the filming of The Man Who Knew Too Much in Morocco, for instance, she refused to work until Alfred Hitchcock arranged for the many animals hanging around the set to be fed. She also did ads criticizing fur in fashion. Doris Day Animal Foundation (DDAF), meanwhile, has been around for some four decades and continues to make grants to nonprofits working to benefit animals and their owners. It's worth noting that DDAF is not a large grantmaking operation and most grants are below $5,000.
Grantmaking, however, goes throughout the country. Recipients include Partners for Pets, which "focuses on pulling euthanasia candidates from low-adoption city shelters in Metro St. Louis"; Humane Alternative, which "rescues, fosters, and places critically special needs/handicapped companion animals in Southern Florida," Sheboygan County Humane Society, Monterey SPCA, and Channel Islands Marine Welfare Institute.
Day helped create The Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center at Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas. There's also the Duffy Day Lifesaving program, which "provides funds for extraordinary costs associated with giving a second chance to senior and special-needs animals that would otherwise be euthanized." The Doris Day/Terry Melcher Scholarship at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, meanwhile, is awarded to students training in veterinary shelter medicine and to help disadvantaged pet populations.
The foundation also engages in other projects and provides annual grants for Spay Day, under the auspices of the Humane Society of the United States, to promote spays and neuters across the country to help eliminate homeless pet overpopulation.
Doris Day Animal Foundation is open to LOIs the first month of each quarter (January, April, July, and October). Subject matter varies, as do the geographic focus and types of animals benefiting, but the charity does seem interested in senior dogs and pets with special needs.
LOOKING FORWARD: In her 90s, Day remains squarely focused on her top philanthropic cause—animals. Expect this to continue.