How Duke Makes a Difference Across the State
Second annual report showcases how Duke research, partnerships and education is benefiting communities across the state
Today, Duke’s impact in North Carolina extends far beyond its home in Durham, with a presence in communities all across the state.
Duke’s contributions and presence in the state can be found in every aspect of its mission.
Economics: Duke is the second largest private employer in the state, with more than 43,000 employees, and Duke employee health insurance covers more than 65,000 state residents. In addition, 33,000 Duke alumni live in North Carolina.
Higher Education: Duke’s education mission benefits the state through the work done by the 18,000 students enrolled at the university, many of whom come from within the state. Talented students from North and South Carolina are considered for special merit-based scholarships when they apply for admission, including the Benjamin N. Duke Memorial Scholarship and the Trinity Scholars Program, which honors Duke’s origins as Trinity College, originally in Randolph County. North Carolina is the #1 state represented in the Class of 2026.
Duke’s research mission also has been a driver of the state’s economy. In Fiscal Year 2021, Duke surpassed over $1.2 billion in research expenditures. Some of that research gets translated into new businesses. Last year, 64% of Duke’s new startups were headquartered in the state.
Community Health: Duke University Health System (DUHS) serves patients in all 100 North Carolina counties, with more than 2.6 million patients from North Carolina in the last fiscal year. DUHS has more than 400 clinic and care locations serving North Carolina communities and provided $945 million in community benefits in Fiscal Year 2021. In addition to its hospitals, Duke has an extensive network of outpatient facilities across the state. Duke Primary Care is the largest primary care network in the greater Triangle area with nearly 50 locations throughout the region.
Purposeful Partnerships: Duke’s Office of Durham and Community Affairs’ Strategic Impact Plan in 2021 identified five community-driven focus areas and associated priorities to guide our engagement efforts in Durham, including housing, health, education, employment and community. All partnerships are focused on listening to community residents and supporting them in finding solutions to the problems they identify.
Purposeful partnerships are forged in Durham and beyond, from innovative research and K-12 collaborations at the Marine Lab in Beaufort to the groundbreaking community-engaged population health initiatives at Duke Kannapolis to Divinity School programs to help rural communities and churches thrive.
Culture, Recreation and the Arts: Duke Chapel, Duke Gardens, the Duke Lemur Center and Duke Forest are major attractions for community members from across the region. Duke Forest spans three counties in the north-central Piedmont region of North Carolina. In the arts, Duke Performances brings world-class performers to the university with around 35,000 tickets sold annually, while more than 100,000 people visited the Nasher Museum of Art last year to see major art exhibits.