Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Grants for Public Health

OVERVIEW:  The foundation does not have a specific public health grantmaking program, but it does award public health-related grants to support efforts in the promotion of the healthy development of children and the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

IP TAKE: If your organization is place-based, community-driven, and helps children below the age of six, submit a letter of inquiry. Grants may be difficult to come by for small organizations, as the foundation makes fewer than 10 grants each year out of this program. 

PROFILE: The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) provides funding for a range of causes, but its public health giving is almost entirely dedicated to addressing child abuse through its Child Well-Being Program, formerly known as its Child Abuse Prevention Program or CAPP.  

The Child Well-Being grants tend to be on the larger side, starting at around $200,000 up to over $2 million. The foundation is beginning to expand understanding of child abuse by awarding Doris Duke Fellowships for the Promotion of Child Well-Being. These fellowships will support the work of doctoral students who are “…building research and practice capacity in the field.”

To learn more about the organizations receiving DDCF support, explore its searchable Grant Recipients webpage.

When the CAPP program was refocused in 2012, the foundation explained what grantseekers and organizations should expect, in a vision paper written by former program director Mary Bassett. Overall, the new Child Well-Being Program shifted the CAAP approach of focusing on families to a community-wide approach. Bassett compares the old approach to a dentist instructing her patients in good dental hygiene, and the new approach to fluoridation of the water. CAPP, Bassett writes, is looking for the "fluoride in water" solution to child abuse and neglect.

To that end, the foundation expanded its grantmaking to focus on child abuse prevention within communities, rather than on its former focus of parental education to prevent abuse. Next, the DDCF has expanded its grantmaking to increase the capacity of existing child abuse prevention systems.

The Child Well-Being Program focuses on the following areas:

  • Funding place-based approaches to ensure that the community is involved in promoting child wellbeing.
  • Extending the capacity of existing place-based services.
  • Developing and disseminating knowledge about child abuse.

The program also requires the following criteria of its grantees:

  • Use an innovative approach to preventing child abuse and neglect.
  • Serve children from ages 0 to 6.
  • Be potentially replicable in other areas.

With its new mission statement, Child Well-Being is likely to be branching out more than in the past to new potential grantees. The program does not accept formal unsolicited proposals, but you can send a letter of inquiry.

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