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 on properties that were owned by Doris Duke in Hillsborough, New Jersey; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Newport, Rhode Island. The foundation is headquartered in what is now known as New York City on the traditional land of the Lenape, which they called Mannahatta, 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 $1.9 billion as of December 31, 2019. 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, 2019, the foundation has approved grants totaling approximately $1.69 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 seeks to ensure a thriving, resilient environment for wildlife and people, and foster an inclusive, effective conservation movement.
  • The Medical Research Program seeks to contribute to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease by strengthening and 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, whose mission is to support national efforts, working with U.S. Muslims, to increase mutual understanding and well-being among diverse populations for the benefit of building stronger, inclusive communities, is funded through the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and is headquartered in DDCF's offices in New York.

To learn more about how diversity, equity and inclusion are laced through all our grant programs and funding strategies, please visit our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion page. 

The Museums and Centers

In her will, Doris Duke expressed her wishes that three of her former properties be opened for public visitation and used for educational programs. Each of the following receive funding from and oversight by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

  • Duke Farms, a 2,700-acre center for environmental stewardship in Hillsborough, New Jersey.
  • Shangri La in Honolulu, Hawaii, which serves as a museum for learning about the global cultures of Islamic art and design.
  • Rough Point, a public museum maintained and operated by the Newport Restoration Foundation, which also preserves historic houses in Newport, Rhode Island.