Ellington Fund

A nonprofit organization

56 donors

Located in Washington, DC, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts (DESA) is the District’s premiere arts high school and is the first charter school in the District that was established long before the term “charter” was used. 

Named after one of America’s greatest composers, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts was founded upon the collaborative efforts of Peggy Cooper Cafritz and Mike Malone, founders of Workshops for Careers in the Arts in 1968.  In 1974, Workshops expanded to become the Duke Ellington School of the Arts-an accredited four-year high school combining arts and a full college preparatory academic curriculum. 

Ellington requires its students to complete 36 credits in the arts and academic subjects.  In addition to their academic studies, students must choose one of the following arts majors:  Dance, Instrumental, Literary Media and Communications, Museum Studies, Theater, Technical Design & Production, Visual Arts or Vocal Music.

Since 2001, the Duke Ellington School board created the Duke Ellington School Arts Project (DESAP), comprised of the DC Public Schools, the Ellington Fund, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The George Washington University (GW), an independent 501 (c) 3 governed by its own board of directors.

Located in Georgetown, Ellington’s mission is to nurture and inspire passion for arts and learning in talented students who might not otherwise have an opportunity to develop their artistic skills.  Our task is to carry out that mission and maintain high graduation and college acceptance rates, which consistently run at 95% or above.


Organization Data


Organization name

Ellington Fund

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture


3500 R STREET NW STE 100


(202) 333-2555