Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

the mission OF the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDC) is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research, and the prevention of child maltreatment, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties. Established in 1996, the foundation supports four national grantmaking programs. It also oversees three properties 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 10-member board of trustees. The foundation has a specific program on environment that targets the challenges brought about by global warming and climate change.

The DDC's activities are guided by the will of Doris Duke, who endowed the foundation with financial assets that totaled approximately $1.8 billion as of December 31, 2006. The foundation regularly evaluates and modifies its allocation of resources from the endowment to support the programs and properties. Born in New York in 1912, Doris Duke was the only child of James Buchanan Duke, a founder of the American Tobacco Company and Duke Energy Company, and a benefactor of Duke University in his native North Carolina. During an adventurous lifetime lived in the spotlight of media attention, Doris Duke did a great deal of philanthropic work, especially in the areas of medical research, childcare, and environmental preservation. When she died in 1993, at the age of 80, Duke left virtually all her fortune to the DDC. Duke's butler, Bernard Lafferty, was left in charge of the foundation by the heiress, but a lawsuit soon provoked his discharge.

The foundation awarded its first grants in 1997. As of December 31, 2006, the foundation has approved approximately 696 grants totaling approximately $479 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the United States. Grants are awarded in four program areas. The Arts Program supports performing artists by producing their works for public performances. The Medical Research Program supports clinical research to prevent and cure diseases. The Child Abuse Prevention Program promotes the healthy development of children by protecting them from abuse and neglect. The scheme which is most directly related to global warming and climate change is the Environment Program.

Doris Duke was a lifelong environmentalist and had a particular interest in conservation. In her will, she expressed her interest in "the preservation of wildlife, both flora and fauna" and in supporting "ecological endeavors." These became the two main points in the mission of the DDC's Environment Program. The scheme works to reach its aims through two strategic initiatives. Habitat Conservation seeks to preserve essential habitats identified in state wildlife action plans through grants that identify priority habitats for conservation, protect priority habitats, and build conservation knowledge. The DDC regards the wildlife conservation strategies submitted in 2005 by the 50 U.S. states to remain eligible for funding through the U.S. Department of the Interior's State Wildlife Grants Program as a blueprint for protecting the most important areas for our nation's wildlife. Habitat Conservation, thus supports state efforts to develop and implement wildlife action plans that identify priority lands for habitat conservation. It encourages the protection of priority areas identified in state wildlife action plans, the development of new sources of conservation funding, and the integration of state wildlife action plans into local, regional, and national planning efforts. The program also has a series of training, research, and education initiatives that advance the Environment Program's mission.

The second function of the DDC is directly related to climate change. It seeks to help build a clean-energy economy through grants that design optimal pricing policies for greenhouse gases, identify and promote policies that accelerate the development of clean-energy technologies, and suggest ways to adapt to climate change. The DDC recognizes that:

climate is changing at a rate that jeopardizes our environmental, economic and social welfare, and the choices we make now about how we generate and use energy will either lock us into decades of unmanageable carbon emissions or set the stage for a sustainable future. The Climate Change Initiative focuses on building a clean-energy economy that works for people and the planet.

By devising optimal domestic and international pricing policies for greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, the DDC intends to make existing and new clean-energy technologies competitive in the marketplace. Grants in this strategy fund academic institutions and nongovernmental organizations working at the state, national, and international levels to design optimal greenhouse gas pricing policies. These will encourage the limitation of emissions.

The second strategy of the Climate Change scheme, to promote the development of clean-energy technologies, encourages the development of policies that will make the existing technologies (such as wind and solar power) available to the market more quickly, particularly technologies dealing with energy efficiency, renewable energy, and low-emission uses of coal. This strategy also endorses policies leading to the development of tomorrow's clean-energy technologies.

The third strategy of the Climate Change scheme is intended to suggest ways in which we can adapt to climate change. Initiatives in this area try to assess the likely effects of climate change and identify adjustments that can be made to reduce the impact of those effects on people and the environment. The DDC con siders this strategy important as, regardless of whether actions are taken now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, gases already in the atmosphere will continue to push temperatures higher. This phenomenon will have uncertain impacts on agriculture, forest and freshwater resources, wildlife, and public health.

The DDC regards its Climate Change project as an important part of its work and one consistent with the mandate of Doris Duke's will. It has committed to the formulation of clean-energy policies that can encourage the building of long-term infrastructures. The Climate Change initiative was launched in 2007 for a five-year period, with a budget of $100 million.

SEE ALSO: Alternative Energy, Overview; Climate Change, Effects; Conservation; Economics, Cost of Affecting Climate Change.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, www. ddcf.org (cited October 2007); Michael A. Toman and Brent Sohngen, Climate Change (Ashgate Publishing, 2004).

Luca Prono University of Nottingham

Solar Power

Solar Power

Start Saving On Your Electricity Bills Using The Power of the Sun And Other Natural Resources!

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment