Now in its 45th year, The Ellington Fund ensures a dynamic arts and academic experience for students at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, which annually educates over 545 aspiring artists from all DC wards – regardless of students’ socioeconomic background or prior experience. Young artists take the stage for theater, music, dance, spoken word, and technical design; display their paintings, sculptures, and photography at exhibitions; and share their writing through publications, plays, and readings. The Fund provides critical support for this work – and for initiatives that keep kids in school and prepare them for higher education and careers, including counseling, tutoring, and college guidance. This school sets high expectations, and with help from the Fund, students rise to meet them: in 2018, 100% graduated on time and 91% achieved college acceptance. An investment here nurtures young talents and minds alike.

COVID-19 Update: Like all public schools in the District, instruction has moved online – challenging in all circumstances but differently so for an arts-based school. Dance, for example, must be taught and practiced remotely and all music studies are digital. Fortunately, the dedicated faculty and staff see to it that all children have the computer technology they need to learn, and home visits are made where necessary to check for and address food and housing insecurity.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 2

Where They Operate: DC-Ward 1; DC-Ward 2; DC-Ward 3; DC-Ward 4; DC-Ward 5; DC-Ward 6; DC-Ward 7; DC-Ward 8; Our students come from every ward in the city with 48% living in the most underserved wards - 5, 7 and 8.

Age Groups Served: Youth (5-11); Pre-teen/teen (12-17)

Population(s) Served: Individuals who identify as LGBTQ; Low- to Moderate-Income Community Members; Women/Girls; Students

Schools They Work In: Duke Ellington School of the Arts

  • Number of students we serve annually:   570
  • Performances/exhibits/art classes, etc. offered annually:  
    Over 50 performances and exhibitions each school year
  • High school graduation rate (or GED completion rate) of our students:   97% (2021)
  • College acceptance rate of our students:   97% (2021)

Awards & Recognition

Designated as a 2016-2018 "Exemplary School" by Arts Schools Network (2016)

College Board Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts, Equity through Arts category (2015)


Budget (FY2014)

  • $3 million or higher
  • The current budget for The Ellington Fund is: $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

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