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In 2024, The Duke Endowment marks 100 years—inspired by the people of the Carolinas, working on solutions together and invested in a shared vision for the future.

Endowment History

A century in the making, the Endowment is a product of the vision and success of Mr. Duke and his family—and the tradition of philanthropic giving they shared.

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Explore Our Work Today

The Duke Endowment of today supports nonprofit organizations doing vital work in the four program areas defined by James B. Duke in his Indenture of Trust. We continue to adapt to meet changing needs in tune with Mr. Duke’s love for humanity.

Learn about our endowment history

Committed to the Carolinas

Yesterday, Today and Into the Future

James B. Duke was a young boy when his mother died and his father went off to fight in the Civil War. His experience inspired a deep and abiding concern for children who need outside support to thrive.

“While in my opinion nothing can take the place of a home and its influences, every effort should be made to safeguard and develop these wards of society.”

Our Work Today

Child & Family Well-Being

The Endowment supports evidence-based and evidence-informed programs to ensure that even the most vulnerable children are equipped to lead successful lives.

Endowment History

After losing his mother and half-brother to typhoid fever, Mr. Duke understood firsthand the importance of good medical care—and that it often wasn’t available to the poor.

“I want to see to it that adequate and convenient hospitals are assured in their respective communities, with especial reference to those who are unable to defray such expenses of their own.”

Our Work Today

Health Care

The Endowment supports hospitals and health systems, reducing barriers to care and promoting healthy behaviors.

Endowment History

James B. Duke always remembered the importance that his schooling, though intermittent at times, played in his success. He remained forever grateful for the access he had to quality education and committed to providing it for others.

"When you have a great community growing like the Carolinas you’ve got to have five kinds of leaders whose minds are trained. The first is preachers, the second is teachers, the third is lawyers, the fourth is chemists and engineers, and the fifth is doctors.”

Our Work Today

Higher Education

The Endowment, seeking to promote high-value education for students, invests in the four schools Mr. Duke named in his Indenture of Trust.

Endowment History

Like his father, Washington Duke, James B. Duke respected and admired the church. Methodist preachers known as circuit riders had a positive impact on their lives.

“My old daddy always said that if he amounted to anything in life it was due to the Methodist circuit riders. If I amount to anything in this world I owe it to my daddy and the Methodist Church.”

Our Work Today

Rural Church

The Endowment provides ongoing support to United Methodist churches in North Carolina, seeking to strengthen congregations as they strengthen rural communities.

Endowment History
Did You Know ?

Mr. Duke limited his philanthropy to causes in North Carolina and South Carolina because he recognized that focusing more broadly 'probably would be productive of less good by reason of attempting too much.'

“I have endeavored to make provision in some measure for the needs of mankind along physical, mental and spiritual lines.”
— James B. Duke

It has been 100 years since James B. Duke established The Duke Endowment. In that time, the organization has awarded billions in grants, helping people in communities across North Carolina and South Carolina. We remain committed to this work, and to Mr. Duke’s vision of improving life in the Carolinas.

Now Explore the Duke Endowment’s Current Work

Guided by Mr. Duke’s words, the Endowment of today continues to evolve to fulfill his vision in ways relevant to new social, economic and technological realities.

Explore Our Work Today