Letter from the President & Chair
Those of us who work in philanthropy know that effective grantmaking is really quite complex. At The Duke Endowment, our desire to direct resources where they will produce the best results in North Carolina and South Carolina involves research, collaboration in the field, progress reports and frequent site visits, where we’re privileged to see our grant dollars at work.
But it all starts with the seed of an idea.
Our founder, James B. Duke, began the Endowment with the idea of doing “big things for God and humanity.” His long-held dream was to channel profits from his hydroelectric power company into life-enriching services for people in the Carolinas, creating a philanthropic foundation that would benefit the region forever.
He spent years discussing the plan with his friend and attorney, William R. Perkins. In late 1924, when Mr. Duke was ready to finalize the Indenture that would create The Duke Endowment, he and trusted advisors met for four days in Charlotte, reading each section aloud to make sure the document “met the test of real assistance.”
Eighty-eight years later, our work is still rooted in that process. Our grantmaking begins with an idea that aligns with our strategic goals. We test and learn from that idea, sometimes through pilot projects. Small efforts may percolate into strategies for larger-scale programs — but even with modest investments, we strive for lasting impact.
On the following pages, you will find examples. A telepsychiatry network improves the way patients receive treatment. The Furman Fine Arts Initiative provides enrichment for campus and community. A child welfare reform project promotes family well-being. Spirited Life helps pastors tend to their mental and physical health.
You’ll read about other milestones as well. In 2012, we distributed more than $120 million in grants, bringing our total since inception to more than $3 billion. We honor the many organizations that have worked with us to improve health and health care, to help children lead successful lives, to prepare students to contribute to society and to enrich spirits in rural communities. In the year ahead, we look forward to cultivating new ideas for “real assistance” — and continuing Mr. Duke’s legacy of hope.