The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Capacity Building Program is a national funding initiative to support efforts to foster organizational change in U.S. conservation organizations toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive field. In June 2020, the foundation's Environment Program released a request for proposals for the newly created grant competition, which was borne out of our fundamental belief that a conservation field that values and integrates a diversity of voices, perspectives and approaches will lead to more positive outcomes for wildlife, the environment and people.
The program is additionally informed by our recognition of conservation's history of racism and inequitable practices and the need to center equity, particularly racial equity, in order for the field to be more responsive to disparities and inequities now and into the future.
Through the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Capacity Building Program, we seek to support DEI change at the organizational level and believe DEI learning and growth is important for all types of organizations — from white-led to Black, Indigenous and people of color-led, small to large, and community-based to nationally focused. We understand, however, that DEI change may look different across these different organizational contexts and have designed the program to flexibly support the needs organizations have articulated for themselves.
While the DDCF DEI Capacity Building Program was not meant to be a COVID-19 or Black Lives Matter rapid-response fund, we acknowledge the new realities organizations are facing in the context of these forces and have tried to create a program that is responsive to emerging needs.
In February 2021, DDCF announced the 18 recipients of more than $1 million in grants through this program. Grantees of the program were selected from a pool of 360 applicants by an external advisory committee for their demonstrated commitment and internal action to making organizational changes to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion, a clear ability to learn and grow from previous related efforts, and for the potential to accelerate or sustain organizational change. Each grantee is receiving up to $60,000 over two years to support activities ranging from equity-centered board development and leadership trainings to internal policy reviews and strategic planning.
Grantees of the program will also have the opportunity to engage in peer learning with the other funded organizations, and we seek to find ways to share the learnings from these grants with the broader environmental conservation and philanthropic fields.
For more information, please see our press release about the 2021 cohort: DDCF Announces Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Capacity Building Program Grantees.