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Maurine Knighton

Maurine Knighton

Chief Program Officer

Maurine Knighton is the chief program officer at the Doris Duke Foundation. In this role, she oversees the foundation’s five national grantmaking programs: Arts, Environment, Medical Research, Child Well-Being and Building Bridges.  

Knighton joined the foundation in 2016 and served as program director for the arts, leading the development and oversight of grantmaking programs to support artists and organizations in the contemporary dance, theater, jazz and presenting fields. During her tenure, she oversaw many of the foundation’s signature programs, including the Doris Duke Artist Awards alongside a wide array of novel and innovative efforts to make the performing arts more inclusive, innovative and equitable.

Prior to her work at the Doris Duke Foundation, Knighton was the senior vice president for grantmaking at the Nathan Cummings Foundation. She also served as senior vice president for program and nonprofit investment at the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. In the field of arts and culture, she was executive producer and president of 651 ARTS; program manager at the Nonprofit Finance Fund; and managing director of Penumbra Theatre Company. 

She is a former board member of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals and of Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA), where she chaired GIA’s Racial Equity Committee. Knighton has also served as panelist and advisor to the National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, Arts Presenters Ensemble Theater Program, South Carolina Arts Commission and many others. She currently serves on the boards of Firelight Media and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation, chairing its Cultural Investment Fund Committee.