A New Record for Giving

Donations to Duke University reach record $410.9 million in 2012-13

Professor Ed Levin showcases his lab to students in the Brain and Society program of the new Bass Connections.  The project is funded through a $50 million gift by Anne T. and Robert M. Bass. Photo by Jon Gardiner/Duke University Photography
Professor Ed Levin showcases his lab to students in the Brain and Society program of the new Bass Connections. The project is funded through a $50 million gift by Anne T. and Robert M. Bass. Photo by Jon Gardiner/Duke University Photography

Duke University received $410.9 million in philanthropic contributions between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013, the highest annual cash total in school history.

The amount for Duke's fiscal year was a 17 percent increase over the 2011-12 fiscal year. The previous record was $385.7 million in the 2007-08 fiscal year.

In September 2012, the university launched the public phase of Duke Forward, a five-year, $3.25 billion comprehensive fund-raising campaign. Donations received in the past fiscal year have put the total raised so far at $1.7 billion -- beyond the halfway mark toward the goal, which encompasses all gifts the university receives before June 30, 2017.

"The generosity of our alumni and friends will move this university forward," said President Richard H. Brodhead. "All of us at Duke are profoundly grateful for their  support, which will benefit Duke students and faculty today and in the future, giving them access to resources and opportunities that enable them to engage with the world's most pressing challenges.  

The Duke Annual Fund, which provides flexible operating support for Duke and fuels all the priorities of the campaign, received a record $33 million from alumni, parents, students and friends. The annual fund helps to cover the cost of financial aid, faculty support and educational programming for all 10 of Duke's graduate and professional schools, as well as the operations of the libraries, Duke Gardens, Duke Chapel and Nasher Museum of Art.

Philanthropists Anne T. and Robert M. Bass of Fort Worth, Texas, made the largest single gift to the university in 2012-13 -- $50 million to launch an initiative to encourage Duke students and faculty to collaborate across traditional academic boundaries to work on issues of societal importance. Bass Connections programming will focus initially on five broad areas: brain and society; education and human development; energy; global health; and information, society and culture.

David Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group and the new chair of the Duke Board of Trustees, gave $10 million to the Sanford School of Public Policy -- its largest single gift -- to endow graduate fellowships and undergraduate internships and to help enhance the school's engagement with the policy world. He also committed $10 million to Duke Athletics, matching its largest gift.

Anne Bass and Rubenstein are Duke Forward co-chairs.

Other significant commitments in 2012-13 included:

-- A record-setting $10 million contribution from Dr. Steven Scott, the retired chairman of the medical investment company, Scott Holdings, LLC., and his wife Rebecca. The Scotts also gave $20 million to expand the university's sports medicine programs and support the School of Medicine.

-- $10.74 million from The Duke Endowment, the Charlotte-based charitable trust established by university founder James B. Duke, to fund clergy health research at the Divinity School and to support the School of Law's Center for Judicial Studies.

-- $5.5 million from Ralph Eads, vice chairman of Jefferies & Co., Inc., and his wife, Lisa, most of which will support the Duke Energy Initiative.

-- $5 million from developers Nancy A. Nasher and her husband David J. Haemisegger to support art acquisitions and to create endowments for curatorships at the Nasher Museum of Art.

"Philanthropic support during the Duke Forward campaign is not only helping to sustain commitments such as financial aid and research, it is laying the foundation for important initiatives in energy, innovation and entrepreneurship, global health and the arts that will enable our students and faculty to shape our changing world," said Robert S. Shepard, vice president for alumni affairs and development. "It is exciting to see these efforts gain traction thanks to the overwhelming generosity of our alumni and friends."