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Doris Duke Foundation Awards $4.5 Million to CAAM for U.S. Muslim Documentary Fund


Staff member
Mar 19, 2024
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Doris Duke Foundation announced at Sundance Film Festival that the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) has been selected as a 2024 grantee in support of CAAM’s U.S. Muslim Documentary Fund. CAAM was one of three organizations selected this year through the Foundation’s Building Bridges Program which funds U.S. nonprofit organizations that help to uplift Muslim storytelling across the arts and entertainment industry. CAAM is the only organization of its kind focusing on non-fiction narratives from Asian Americans and other communities. This $4.5 million grant will enable the San Francisco-based non-profit media organization to support U.S. Muslim filmmakers and their works, contributing to a fuller spectrum of unseen narratives that need to be told in the context of what it means to be Muslim in the U.S.

“We can’t change what we think until Hollywood changes who and what we see. 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.” said Sam Gill, President and CEO, Doris Duke Foundation.

“Uplifting Muslim stories reflects CAAM’s forty-plus year mission of bringing undertold narratives to mainstream audiences, says Stephen Gong, Executive Director of CAAM. “In these times of division, it is more critical than ever to foster a greater understanding of the lived experiences of America’s diversity. CAAM is honored to be entrusted to be a partner in this Doris Duke Foundation initiative.”

Doris Duke Foundation identifies organizations that advance its goals and provides funding through staff-curated grants, re-granting opportunities, as well as internal and external funding partnerships. The 2024 grantees underscore the power of creative stories and compelling storytellers in combating ongoing hate against U.S. Muslims, Asians, communities of color and Jewish people.

CAAM will work with U.S. Muslim creatives and thought leaders within the Asian American community and beyond to design a strategy to support a sustainable infrastructure and network tailored for this community. CAAM will then invest in U.S. Muslim stories by creating an annual Request for Proposals (RFP) solely for U.S. Muslim documentary filmmakers, supporting up to 10 projects each year, for the next three years.

Muslim House at Sundance

Image Credit: MPAC

Additional 2024 grantees include:

  • The Muslim House
    activations and convenings at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW and Tribeca Film Festival via The Muslim Public Affairs Council, Hollywood Bureau (MPAC), with $1.425M over three years to create meeting places for U.S. Muslim creators and cross-community entertainment industry professionals;
  • A new Fellowship Program that includes experiential learning about the entertainment industry to prepare emerging U.S. Muslim creatives to succeed, piloted by The Islamic Scholarship Fund with a $100,000 grant.

Launched in 2007 to counter hate directed at U.S. Muslim communities in the United States in the aftermath of 9/11, Doris Duke Foundation’s Building Bridges Program is the largest U.S. funding program of its kind. Through this program the Foundation has allocated over $46M in grants to date aimed at fostering dialogue and understanding between communities with a focus on the voices and perspectives of U.S. Muslims.

Over recent years, Doris Duke Foundation has begun to focus on the role of entertainment and popular culture to bring diverse communities together. This has included support for the 2023 Oscar-nominated film Strangers at the Gate, the Pulitzer Prize-winning folk opera Omar, the Secret Life of Muslims, a Peabody-nominated web series that has been viewed 45 million times, and the 1979 Revolution game by Navid Khonsari, which won a BAFTA, a Facebook award and recommended by UNESCO as a solution for conflict.

About Doris Duke Foundation

The mission of Doris Duke Foundation is to build a more creative, equitable and sustainable future by investing in artists and the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research, child well-being and greater mutual understanding among diverse communities. Visit www.dorisduke.org to learn more.

About Building Bridges Program

Through the Building Bridges Program, Doris Duke Foundation supports national efforts, working with U.S. Muslims, to increase mutual understanding and well-being among diverse populations for the benefit of building stronger, inclusive communities. The program is anchored in the conviction that strategic use of the arts and media can help provide an effective social prescription for achieving this vision.

For more information about Doris Duke Foundation’s Building Bridges Program and grant opportunities visit: https://www.dorisduke.org/funding-areas/building-bridges/
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