Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Announces $50 Million Initiative to Support Performing Artists

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Ed Henry, President of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), announced on October 20 that a new special initiative of the Foundation will offer virtually unprecedented freedom to 200 individual artists in the fields of jazz, theatre and contemporary dance. Individuals selected by the Doris Duke Performing Artists Initiative will receive flexible, multi-year cash awards of as much as $275,000, with funds given not to realize specific projects but as investments in their development and future work. The Initiative will not be open to applications; artists will be chosen through an anonymous peer-review process.

Unique in the performing arts, the Doris Duke Performing Artists Initiative will provide the largest allocation of cash grants ever given to individual artists in these fields, while also providing additional support to artists through residencies. Established to enable artists to take creative risks, freely explore new ideas and independently tend to critical needs such as health care and retirement savings, the Initiative represents an additional ten-year, $50 million contribution by DDCF over and above its substantial existing commitment to the performing arts.

“Think of this as a radical vote of confidence in the creativity of more than 200 individual artists," Ed Henry stated. “At a time when support for the arts is being cut back across the country, and when most artists—the lifeblood of the field—are struggling just to stay viable project by project, we thought it was essential to step up our commitment. We want to make a contribution large enough to have an impact on the performing arts and above all to give artists their freedom—freedom to experiment, to reflect, to try something new without fear of failure."

Ben Cameron, Program Director for the Arts, stated, “The challenges that artists face in their working lives are unconventional by the standards of many professions, and so the Foundation is taking an unconventional grant-making approach to address them. This national initiative offers the kind of flexible, multi-year support that can help artists meet the needs that otherwise go unfunded, from research to retirement savings to time just to sit down and think."

Since its founding in 1996, DDCF has given more than $218 million to its signature fields in the arts, by supporting the commissioning, production and presentation of new works; the development of innovative new approaches to the challenges facing performing arts groups; and the strengthening of national organizations that are vital to dance, jazz and theatre. With the Doris Duke Performing Artists Initiative, DDCF will now provide a critical mass of flexible support to individual artists, as well as to a range of dance companies, theatres and presenters.

The first fellowships in the Doris Duke Performing Artists Initiative will be awarded in 2012, the year that marks the centennial of Doris Duke's birth. DDCF anticipates celebrating the legacy of Doris Duke in that year with a number of other programs and milestone achievements in core fields including Islamic art, the environment and historic preservation.

How the Doris Duke Performing Artists Initiative Is Structured
The ten-year Doris Duke Performing Artists Initiative will consist of three parts, focused on Doris Duke Leading Artists fellowships, Doris Duke Arts Fellowships and Doris Duke Artist Residencies.

First, DDCF will award fellowships to a total of 100 Doris Duke Leading Artists, chosen through a peer-review process. No applications will be accepted. To be eligible for consideration, artists must have won funding on a national level for at least three different projects over the past ten years, with at least one project having received support from a DDCF-funded program. Leading Artists will each receive $225,000 of unrestricted funding over a period of three to five years, and an additional $25,000 earmarked for audience development or arts education. DDCF is also prepared to provide an additional $25,000 on an incentive matching basis for retirement savings, bringing the total potential investment in each artist to $275,000. Doris Duke Leading Artists will be announced annually in classes of twenty between 2012 and 2016.

Additionally, DDCF will award Arts Fellowships to 100 artists who have demonstrated the potential to influence their respective fields but who have yet to receive significant national support. Again, artists will be chosen through a peer-review process, with no applications accepted. Arts Fellows will receive $60,000 in unrestricted funding over a period of two to three years and an additional $10,000 earmarked for audience development. The Foundation is also prepared to provide an additional $10,000 on an incentive matching basis for retirement savings, bringing the potential investment in each artist to $80,000. Arts Fellows will also have the opportunity to take part in professional development activities, financial and legal counseling and grantee gatherings. Doris Duke Arts Fellows will be announced annually in classes of twenty between 2014 and 2018.

Finally, DDCF will support residencies for artists at dance companies, theatres and/or presenting organizations for periods of four months spread over two to three years. Residencies will be offered at $150,000 or $75,000 levels and will support efforts by artists and organizations to reach audiences in new ways. Half of each residency grant will go to the artist and half to the organization. A minimum of 50 residencies will be awarded in five rounds. Applications will be considered for this piece of the Initiative, with submissions being accepted beginning in late 2012 and grants awarded in 2013.

Grantees will be chosen by peer panels of professionals in the dance, theatre, jazz and presenting fields. To eliminate the possibility of lobbying, the identities of panel members will not be disclosed.

DDCF has identified the Creative Capital Foundation as its primary partner in working with artists to maximize the use of their grants. DDCF chose CCF as a partner in this initiative because of its proven record of professional development work with artists; its high standards of fiscal responsibility; and its unique position in the field, which allows the organization to connect grantees to artistic resources beyond the performing arts.

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
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 the prevention of child abuse, 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 properties that were owned by Doris Duke—in Hillsborough, New Jersey; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Newport, Rhode Island—all of which are open to the public.

The Foundation awarded its first grants in 1997. To date, the Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $1 billion.

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