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Mission and History

Our mission is to sponsor, maintain and financially support the various programs and activities including curriculum programs, student support functions, art and academic disciplines and courses, productions, exhibits, concerts, workshops and educational seminars, and to provide scholarship assistance to graduates of the Duke Ellington School in pursuit of college or professional careers.

We aim to support, promote, and empower the next generation of emerging artists, global citizens, and critical scholars by investing in their futures today. In 1978, The Ellington Fund was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to support the Duke Ellington School of the Arts (DESA) through fundraising and development efforts.

These comprehensive fundraising efforts – which include direct mail appeals, corporate, foundation, and government grants, and special events such as the Performance Series of Legends and our gala, Evening at Duke’s Place – are designed to empower students and faculty, expand the breadth and depth of programming, and sustain the long-term social impact of DESA. We support DESA as both an educational and cultural institution of national prominence and profound influence in the visual and performing arts.

The Ellington Fund administers and supports programs and activities at DESA that are not funded by the DC Public School System (DCPS), and has raised millions of dollars to augment the school’s budget, providing critical opportunities and service for students and faculty. With the costs of a rigorous dual curriculum on a constant climb, philanthropy continues to be essential to the success of our students and fulfilling our mission.

To find out how you can support arts education at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, please visit our section on “Ways to Give”.

Macron Visit Group Photo

Ellington Administration and Board Members with Mrs. Brigitte Macron during her visit and tour.