Duke Donors Set Giving Record for Fourth Straight Year

Donors gave $571 million in gifts and pledges to Duke during the last fiscal year to support areas ranging from financial aid to the arts

Pledges and donations to Duke increased 5.85 percent during the past fiscal year.
Pledges to Duke increased 5.85 percent during the past fiscal year.

Donors gave $571 million in gifts and pledges to Duke University during the last fiscal year to support areas ranging from financial aid to the arts -- a record-setting amount for the fourth consecutive year.

The total includes all new commitments from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. The $506 million Duke received in cash is a 5.85 percent increase over the $478 million received in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

“Thanks to our generous alumni and friends, Duke can empower our faculty and students to create solutions to the most difficult challenges in the world,” said President Richard H. Brodhead. “We’re grateful for the loyalty to Duke that inspires so many alumni and friends to want to sustain and enrich the Duke experience for the future -- and to ensure that we welcome the most talented and promising students, regardless of their financial circumstances.”  

Donors supported priorities such as research ($180.4 million); financial aid ($83.9 million); hallmark hands-on learning programs such as DukeEngage and Bass Connections ($71.1 million); faculty support ($47 million) and campus transformation ($41.1 million).

The Duke Annual Fund received more than $37.5 million -- also a new record -- from nearly 60,000 alumni, parents, students and friends. The Annual Fund helps support faculty, financial aid and fellowships, and educational programs for all of Duke's undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. It also supports the operations of the libraries, Duke Gardens, Duke Chapel, Duke Marine Lab and Nasher Museum of Art.

Areas that received significant new commitments in 2015-16 included:

-- The arts: Gifts included $7.36 million from Karl and Mary Ellen von der Heyden to support programs, events and other educational opportunities in the new arts center at Duke and to name the studio theater; $5 million from anonymous donors to establish endowments to support programming for the arts and the new center; and $5 million from the Mars and Badger families to support programs and activities in the new arts center and to name the center’s visual arts wing.

-- Financial aid: A total of $30.5 million was given for the Access and Opportunity Challenge, including $10 million from Fred and Barbara Sutherland, $10 million from The Duke Endowment and $2 million from Gerald Hassell. Hassell also gave $2 million to establish a challenge fund at The Fuqua School of Business. 

-- Health policy: A $16.5 million donation from Duke medical school alumnus Robert J. Margolis and his wife Lisa, through the Robert and Lisa Margolis Family Foundation, to establish a new health policy center whose goal is to develop ideas on health reform and move them into practical implementation.

-- Athletics: A $4 million gift from William C. Powers to Duke Athletics to name the West Gate of Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium in honor of his father N. Thompson (Tom) Powers, a two-year football and three-year baseball letterman who has held Duke's single-game record for touchdowns since 1950.

-- Biomedical research: A $25.5 million award from the Marcus Foundation to Duke Health for research using stem cell therapies to treat autism, stroke and cerebral palsy.

Duke Forward, the seven-year fundraising effort to support Duke’s 10 schools, Duke Health and a range of university programs and initiatives, recently surpassed its $3.25 billion goal. The campaign will continue as scheduled through June 30, 2017, with a focus on meeting all schools’ and campus priorities, including financial aid, interdisciplinary initiatives and endowed professorships.

“The continued generosity of Duke’s donors has kept us in the forefront of education, research and health care, and allowed us to tackle head-on some very critical global problems,” said Robert S. Shepard, vice president for alumni affairs and development. “We are especially grateful for the resources to give our students the best possible experience.”

Universities and colleges report cash totals to the Council on Aid to Education and the national Voluntary Support of Education survey. This reflects immediate cash flow derived from private support, including outright gifts, grants and payments on existing pledges.

New commitment totals include new pledges plus outright gifts. This number best represents current fundraising activity.