Performing Arts

Doris Duke Impact Awards


The Doris Duke Impact Awards, grants awarded through a sub-initiative of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards, invested in talented artists in the fields of contemporary dance, jazz, theater and related interdisciplinary work, who had yet to receive significant national recognition for their work, but who showed great promise. They acknowledged the value in embracing the new and yet-to-be-celebrated creators.

The Impact Award recipients were not necessarily emerging, young or even mid-career. Rather, these awards celebrated artists who had yet to achieve the same level of recognition as their colleagues in the Doris Duke Artist category, but who nonetheless had a meaningful impact on their peers and would greatly benefit from the same principles of empowerment, multi-year support, investment and celebration. The Impact Awards also recognized the paucity of programs for particular kinds of artists (e.g. actors, dancers, designers, artists of regional significance, etc.) who may not have been the focus of most national grant programs but whose potential impact on their respective fields was significant.

Impact Award recipients were entitled to two kinds of funds: unrestricted/flexible funds and restricted project funds. Recipients received an unrestricted grant of $60,000 over a two- to three-year period, as set through a schedule determined by the artist recipient. An additional $10,000 of unrestricted funds were made available to artists who demonstrated that they had started or increased resources (whether IRA’s, SEP’s 401(k)’s, etc.) that would allow them to continue their creative exploration in their later years when other resources were likely to be unpredictable and difficult to obtain. Restricted project funds of up to $10,000 were available to the artist specifically to support work around audience connections or development, bringing the program’s potential investment to $80,000 per artist.

Awardees had access to Creative Capital’s goal assessment tools; financial and legal counseling; and conferences with peer-to-peer learning opportunities. Impact Award recipients were also able to allocate a portion of their funding to cover costs of professional development services including workshops to help artists expand their skills and practices (from strategic planning to fundraising to promotion); phone-in clinics that offered support for the business areas of artistic practices (legal, financial, tech, PR and business advice); memberships that provided opportunities for crowdfunding and fiscal sponsorship partners, as well as pro-rated fees for insurance or health care.

In 2016, upon the conclusion of DDPAA and as part of its ongoing commitment to supporting artists, DDCF joined a unique collaboration of national foundations increasing opportunities for direct, unrestricted and flexible support for artists across the country. This grants program is administered through the selection process of United States Artists. You can read more about the United States Artists Doris Duke Fellows here.

Evolution of the Doris Duke Impact Awards

Letter from the President of DDCF to Artists and Colleagues