Doris Duke Charitable Foundation: Grants for Environmental Conservation

OVERVIEW: The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) approaches conservation through an emphasis on climate change and how the environment is impacted by biodiversity issues, restoring and preserving natural habitats, land conservation and energy development.

IP TAKE: DDCF broadly invests in dynamic programs to address climate change through habitat and ecosystem conservation. 

PROFILE: Doris Duke willed most of her estate to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, which was established in 1996. The foundation is headquartered in New York and is governed by a board of 10 Trustees. The foundation seeks 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." It invests in performing artsmedical research, an African health initiativebuilding bridgeschild well-being, and the environment.  

Doris Duke was a lifelong conservationist. The foundation's environment program reflects Duke’s view that climate change is the “greatest emerging threat to biodiversity.” The program awards grants through its main areas of focus, which include Land Conservation in an Era of Climate ChangeWildlife & Energy Development, and Strengthening the Conservation Field. The foundation ultimately seeks to manage and protect wildlife habitats that have been threatened or depleted due to climate change, but also to create built environments that are energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable. Its environmental grant-making process outlines highly specific guidelines.

Grants range from $500,000 to $1 million, and predominately support large, established organizations. As a result, the foundation's more expansive giving leaves little room for grassroots organizations. The foundation accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry via its website; however, DDCF awards an extremely limited number of environmental grants per year.