Duke Donors Give $517 Million to Further University Priorities

Campus aerial shot
This strong show of philanthropic support comes one year after the conclusion of the largest fundraising campaign in the university’s history.

More than 108,000 donors gave $517 million in gifts to Duke University during the last fiscal year, supporting priorities ranging from financial aid to research. 

The total includes cash gifts from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, but does not include pledges for future support and government contracts. It marks the second-highest amount ever raised by Duke in a single year.

“Duke’s ability to make a difference in the world is possible because of our alumni, donors and friends, and we’re grateful for their continued generosity,” said David L. Kennedy, who became Duke’s vice president for alumni affairs and development on Aug. 13. “It is an honor to join Duke and to continue furthering the legacy of philanthropy and commitment from our donors to advance Duke’s extraordinary students and faculty, enhance facilities, and foster educational programs to deliver innovative solutions for local and global challenges.” 

Funding for research represented the largest single category for private philanthropy, with $201 million in gifts and grants. In addition, donors contributed to financial aid for undergraduate and graduate students ($71 million); support for faculty and teaching ($19 million); and campus transformation, including new construction and renovation of facilities ($22 million).

This strong show of philanthropic support comes one year after the conclusion of Duke Forward, the largest fund-raising campaign in the university’s history. The campaign raised $3.85 billion, surpassing its $3.25 billion goal insupport of Duke’s 10 schools, Duke Health and a range of university programs and initiatives. In its final fiscal year, which ended on June 30, 2017, Duke Forward propelled the university to a record level of giving with $581 million in cash gifts.

The Duke Annual Fund received more than $40 million -- a new record -- from nearly 58,000 alumni, parents, students and friends. The Annual Fund helps support students, 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 2017-18 included:

-- Financial aid: A $15 million gift from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation to establish a new undergraduate scholarship program focused on leadership, service, and business and entrepreneurship at the Pratt School of Engineering.

-- Humanities: A total of nearly $3.7 million was given by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to expand a strong humanities curriculum and forge new collaborations beyond campus. 

-- Judicial studies: A $10 million gift from Duke Law graduate Carl Bolch Jr. and his wife, Susan Bass Bolch, will endow a new judicial institute at the law school that’s dedicated to bettering the human condition through studying and promoting the rule of law. Duke and other donors will match the gift for a total of $20 million.

-- Interdisciplinary education and research: A total of$2.25 million received from 37 donors and matched by $1.125 million fromthe Bass Connections Challenge will support interdisciplinary, team-based research through the Bass Connections program. New commitments included$1.5 million from former Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers and his wife, M.A. Rogers, to launch a project focused on accelerating the deployment of sustainable energy and empowering the world through expanded energy access.

-- Global food policy: A total of $5.9 million in grants was given to bolster efforts to improve global food policy, such as informing issues like malnutrition and food safety, at the Sanford School of Public Policy. Gifts included $5 million from The Duke Endowment, $600,000 from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust and $300,000 from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. 

Universities and colleges report cash totals to the Council on Aid to Education and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for the 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.