Mission & History


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.


Established in 1996, the foundation supports four national grant-making programs. It also supports three museums and centers that were owned by Doris Duke in Hillsborough, New Jersey; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Newport, Rhode Island. The foundation is headquartered in New York and is governed by a board of 12 Trustees.

DDCF's activities are guided by the will of Doris Duke, who endowed the foundation with financial assets that totaled approximately $1.73 billion as of December 31, 2015. The foundation regularly evaluates and modifies its allocation of resources from the endowment to support the programs and properties and to respond to fluctuations in portfolio returns.

The foundation awarded its first grants in 1997. As of December 31, 2015, the foundation has approved grants totaling approximately $1.4 billion.

The Programs

DDCF awards grants in four program areas:

  • The Arts Program supports performing artists with the creation and public performance of their work.
  • The Environment Program supports efforts that enable communities to protect and manage wildlife habitat and create efficient built environments.
  • The Medical Research Program seeks to contribute to the prevention and cure of disease by supporting clinical research.
  • The Child Well-Being Program seeks to promote children’s healthy development and protect them from abuse and neglect.

In the fall of 2007, DDCF also launched the African Health Initiative, with the goal of strengthening health systems in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Building Bridges Program, which seeks to increase public understanding of Islamic cultures through media and the arts, is funded through the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and is headquartered in DDCF's offices in New York.

The Museums and Centers

In her will, Doris Duke requested that several operating foundations manage the museums and centers listed below. She expressed her wishes that they be opened for public visitation and used for educational programs. The operating foundations receive funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

  • The Duke Farms Foundation manages a 2,700-acre center in Hillsborough, New Jersey, which is known as "Duke Farms" and has a mission of environmental stewardship.
  • The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art manages Doris Duke's home in Honolulu, Hawaii, which is known as "Shangri La" and serves as a museum for the study of Islamic art and cultures.
  • The Newport Restoration Foundation preserves historic houses in Newport, Rhode Island, and operates Doris Duke's home in Newport known as "Rough Point," which is also a public museum.