The Doris Duke Foundation is making sizable gifts to promote peace and understanding through the power of narrative.
Noting that Islamophobia, antisemitism and hate against Asians and other communities of color are all on the rise, the Foundation is committing a total of $6 million in grants to three initiatives that support U.S. Muslims in arts and entertainment:
- The largest grant, $4.5 million, will establish the U.S. Muslim Documentary Fund through the Center for Asian American Media.
- The Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Hollywood Bureau will receive $1.425 million over three years to host events and activations such as its Muslim House at the Sundance, SXSW and Tribeca film festivals.
- And The Islamic Scholarship Fund will receive $100,000 to start a new fellowship program for entry-level Muslim American creatives in the entertainment industry.
The grants were announced by Doris Duke Foundation president and CEO Sam Gill on Sunday evening at Sundance’s Muslim House, a one-night-only gathering at The Park that included discussions on the use of comedy to combat hate, how to push for social justice amid a climate of “cancel culture” and the power of documentaries.
“We can’t change what we think until Hollywood changes who and what we see,” Gill said in a statement. “These grants will spotlight the underlying causes of intolerance and challenge them by bringing new and diverse stories, voices and perspectives into the entertainment industry that shapes our culture.”
Since its creation in 2007 to combat Islamophobia in the wake of 9/11, the Foundation’s Building Bridges Program has given out more than $46 million in grants to date. In recent years, the program has increasingly leaned into entertainment and cultural strategies, including supporting the Oscar-nominated documentary short Strangers at the Gate, Pulitzer-winning opera Omar and Peabody-nominated web series Secret Life of Muslims.