Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Awards $1.5 Million to Organizations Building an Inclusive Conservation Movement

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Awards $1.5 Million to Organizations Building an Inclusive Conservation Movement

New York, May 13, 2021 – The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) today announced that ‘Āina Momona, Ekvn-Yefolecv, McIntosh S.E.E.D., Native Movement and Soul Fire Farm will receive general operating grants totaling $1.5 million through the foundation’s new Building an Inclusive Conservation Movement Program. These five Black, Indigenous and people of color-led conservation organizations will each receive $300,000 in funding over three years in recognition of and contribution to the pivotal leadership roles they play in developing culturally driven and community-centered conservation work that builds more positive outcomes for biodiversity, nature and people.

“We are excited to support these bold and impactful organizations with flexible funding to help advance their goals,” said Sacha Spector, program director for the environment at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. “Each grantee is lifting up their communities and addressing important conservation challenges through many avenues, including traditional environmental stewardship practices, community wealth building, leadership development and organizing. We look forward to expanding our support for conservation efforts led by organizations and communities who identify as Black, Indigenous and people of color in the months and years to come.”

While each grantee of the Building an Inclusive Conservation Movement Program serves a distinct set of communities spanning geographies from Georgia to Hawai’i, the entire cohort prioritizes the bridge between environmental and land justice. Each organization further serves as a catalytic force and support mechanism for like networks of partners and communities.

‘Āina Momona in Moloka’i, Hawai’i works to achieve sustainability and environmental health in Hawai’i through restoring social justice, revitalizing ancestral food systems and reestablishing traditional land management practices. The organization also manages an environmental fellowship for young leaders of Moloka’i to build upon their existing skills and talents in natural and cultural resource management. ‘Āina Momona’s wider aim is to create scalable models for community-led land restoration that can be applied to other areas in the Hawaiian archipelago, and to address the inter-connected educational, environmental, economic and social justice needs in Hawaiian communities.

Ekvn-Yefolecv in Weogufka, Alabama is an intentional ecovillage community of Indigenous Maskoke persons who, after 180 years of having been forcibly removed from their traditional Alabama homelands, have returned for the purpose of practicing linguistic, cultural and ecological sustainability. Components of their work include a language immersion school, natural building construction and integrated green technologies, especially ecological restoration and regenerative farming with endangered species such as sturgeon, bison and threatened heritage animal breeds. Ekvn-Yefolecv seeks to serve as a replicable model for other Indigenous communities and nonIndigenous communities alike to manifest similar models in their own culturally responsive ways.

McIntosh S.E.E.D. in Darien, Georgia works across Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida using asset-based economic development, education reform, empowerment and environmental preservation to strengthen families and rural communities who experience systemic barriers to wealth accumulation. The organization primarily works with African American landowners in the region to implement sustainable forestry practices and connect them to government resources.

Native Movement in Fairbanks, Alaska is an Indigenous-led organization working to build people power, rooted in an Indigenized worldview, toward healthy, sustainable and just communities for all people. Native Movement engages in grassroots campaigns to protect lands, waters and peoples from resource extraction and state violence, as well as uplift matriarchal and Indigenized worldviews of a just, whole and regenerative world. They also work to train and empower others to shape change based on an Indigenized worldview.

Soul Fire Farm in Petersburg, New York is a Black, Indigenous and people of color-centered community farm that provides trainings to farmers and food advocates to end racism and injustice in the food system. A passionate supporter of flourishing Black agrarianism, the organization’s many partnerships include the recently announced Braiding Seeds Fellowship, a collaboration with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives that provides beginning farmers with resources, professional development and mentorship to support their livelihood on land and their future as the next generation of Black, Indigenous and people of color farmers.

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Building an Inclusive Conservation Movement Program is a natural outgrowth of its Environment Program’s longstanding efforts to strengthen the conservation field. Since 2013, the Environment Program has been working to support a more diverse, equitable and inclusive conservation field in the U.S. Additional DDCF programs in this vein include the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Capacity Building Program.

With the acknowledgment that environmental philanthropy has historically underfunded communities who identify as Black, Indigenous and people of color, this work is grounded in the 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. An advisory community of practitioners in the environmental field whose experiences and work center on communities who identify as Black, Indigenous and people of color helped to identify organizations to be considered for funding and worked alongside DDCF Environment Program staff to determine grantees.

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Environment Program

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 the preservation and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. 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. The mission of the foundation’s Environment Program is to ensure a thriving, resilient environment for wildlife and people, and foster an inclusive, effective conservation movement. More than $415 million in grants related to the conservation of wildlife in the United States have been made by the foundation since it was established in 1997. To learn more, visit