Child Well-Being Grant Program

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

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Grant amount: US $100,000 - US $10,000,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



NOTE: Although unsolicited proposals are rarely considered, inquiries about future support for projects that fall within the Child Well-being Program’s grant-making strategies can be submitted through a letter of inquiry.


The mission of the Child Well-being Program is to promote children’s healthy development and protect them from abuse and neglect.

About Doris Duke and Child Well-being

Doris Duke took a special interest in the needs of children, supporting nearly 85 child welfare organizations during her life. In her will, Doris Duke expressed her interest in "the prevention of cruelty to children."


A significant and growing body of research has shown that a child’s success and well-being are strongly tied to the safety and stability of both his or her family and the community where he or she lives. These factors provide the foundation for healthy physical and emotional development during childhood. Vulnerable families may need to access critical services to support their children’s well-being. By funding efforts that strengthen the social service systems that serve vulnerable families and meet the needs of children and caregivers together, the Child Well-being Program aims to prevent child maltreatment and promote children’s healthy development. 

To accomplish this goal, the program focuses its grant making in three areas: 

Build a More Robust Repertoire of Prevention Strategies

One of the Child Well-being Program’s core goals is to build a more comprehensive array of available services aimed at preventing child maltreatment that meets the unique needs of low-income, vulnerable children and families. Delivery of these services must be culturally, geographically and locally relevant. As such, the Child Well-being Program supports organizations that have deep roots in their communities, are trusted by residents, and partner with multiple sectors (e.g., health, education, criminal justice and housing agencies) to coordinate services for vulnerable children and families at the neighborhood level. Each grantee is expected to:

  • Invest in improving the local environment (e.g., clean and safe housing, community gardens, safe places to socialize and play);
  • Use administrative and/or independently collected and validated data for informed decision-making and to assess impact on child, family and/or community well-being;
  • Coordinate services that work with families in a particular neighborhood;
  • Bring additional resources to the neighborhood that are relevant to their local context and empower residents to use them; and
  • Increase resident engagement, foster social connectedness among community members, and build a sense of belonging within neighborhoods where residents live.

These coordinated, neighborhood-level efforts are often referred to as “place-based approaches” and aim to support parents and caregivers in their efforts to make families and communities more engaged, connected and resilient. The Child Well-being Program supports such efforts in urban, peri-urban and rural areas.

To read more about the program’s strategy to support the nation’s most vulnerable children, please click here for a message from our program director, Lola Adedokun.

Strengthen & Expand the Capacity of Existing Systems

Children and families living in situations that expose them to trauma, violence, abuse and neglect often also suffer from inequalities that persist through generations, resulting in a perpetual cycle of poverty, violence, and poor physical and mental health. Many of these vulnerable children and families lack the essential supports and resources that enable them to live full, healthy and happy lives. By strengthening the ability of existing social service systems to better serve populations where risk of child maltreatment and poor outcomes is especially high, the needs of more individuals can be effectively and efficiently met.

Through its grant making, the Child Well-being Program aims to strengthen and expand the capacity of existing systems that provide culturally appropriate and context-specific programs for larger populations of vulnerable parents and children.

Develop & Disseminate Knowledge

For healthy changes to take root and last in the lives of children and families for generations to come, successes, challenges, best practices and relevant research need to be shared broadly across the field. While research pertaining to the prevention of child abuse and neglect continues to be an important funding priority for the Child Well-being Program, the program recognizes the importance of building a broader audience for this information.

To that end, the program seeks to support efforts that test new approaches to better educate policymakers, practitioners, parents and the general public about child development, early brain development, and best practices for the implementation and evaluation of evidence-based interventions that positively affect children and families. The program seeks to ensure that learning is shared as broadly and effectively as possible through varied platforms, including academic journals, white papers, popular media and in-person gatherings.

The Child Well-being Program also supports the training of future cohorts of leaders from a variety of disciplines, experiences, cultures and backgrounds responsible for shaping the experiences and outcomes of future generations of healthy children and families. The Doris Duke Fellowships for the Promotion of Child Well-Being is a key example of a multidisciplinary program that supports doctoral students from various academic backgrounds committed to contributing new knowledge to the field.


The Child Well-being Program’s grant-making strategy is designed to foster the long-term well-being of vulnerable children, families and communities by funding efforts to protect and improve the health and positive development of vulnerable populations including:

  • Low-income families, especially those with children under six years old;
  • Native American or Alaska Native families; and
  • Youth in or transitioning out of foster care.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • All Doris Duke Charitable Foundation programs require that grantee organizations be 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entities based in the United States.
    • Only letters of inquiry submitted by U.S. nonprofit organizations will be reviewed.
  • In addition to the program’s prevention and early intervention goals and strategies, the program uses the following criteria to guide its grant-making decisions:
    • Innovative Approaches to Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
      • The foundation is particularly interested in new methods and models that involve larger community-based efforts to improve overall conditions for families with young children, particularly those at high risk for abuse and neglect.
    • Youngest Children (ages 0 to 6)
      • Organizations supported by the foundation must reach families with children from birth to six years old, a group that constitutes the majority of child abuse and neglect cases and suffers the greatest consequences of maltreatment.
    • Potentially Replicable
      • To harness the promise of evidence-based programs that reduce rates of child abuse and neglect, the foundation prioritizes support for initiatives that have the potential to be replicated throughout the country and present compelling data and evidence of measurable improvements in child and/or family outcomes.


  • The Child Well-being Program prioritizes funding for projects and programs that:
    • Cultivate partnerships between organizations and systems that serve vulnerable children and families.
    • Coordinate efforts across a variety of social service systems.
    • Implement interventions that meet the needs of vulnerable children and families in their neighborhoods and communities.
    • Increase access to prevention and treatment services.
    • Communicate lessons and outcomes broadly to inform policy and practice.
    • Invest in developing and supporting the next generation of leaders committed to implementing effective programs and policies serving vulnerable children and families.


  • At this time, the foundation does not directly support: 
    • treatment programs or trauma services for victims;
    • projects focused solely on childhood sexual abuse;
    • prevention of bullying in schools;
    • self-protection or conflict resolution programs for children; or programs related to protecting children from internet predators.
  • The foundation does not support individual requests for legal help or counseling to resolve individual family problems.