Charting a Path


After decades of service and leadership, Gene Cochrane, our president since 2005, is retiring.
Rhett N. Mabry, Incoming President; Eugene W. Cochrane Jr., President; Minor M. Shaw, Board Chair

Each time we read the Indenture of Trust that established The Duke Endowment, we marvel at our founder’s vision for strengthening the Carolinas. By focusing his philanthropy on children, health care, higher education and rural churches, James B. Duke set a course for his philanthropy to enrich lives in a multitude of ways across the two states.

The Trustees of The Duke Endowment gather every year to read each sentence of this complex document aloud. It takes about 45 minutes, but listening to the words of the Indenture always gives us a new appreciation for the journey we have been privileged to join. Today’s Trustees and staff, and those who came before us, commit to grantmaking that honors Mr. Duke’s intent and strives for the lasting impact that he envisioned.

Our forward-thinking founder charted a path for us to follow — and that idea resonated as a theme for our 2015 Annual Report. On the following pages, we share stories about grantee efforts that are helping families, patients, scholars and communities flourish. We invite you to read how these programs are leading the way for important work in North Carolina and South Carolina.

"Charting a Path” seems especially relevant this year at the Endowment.

After decades of service and leadership, Gene Cochrane, our president since 2005, is retiring. Gene joined our staff in 1980 and made a significant impact throughout his 36-year career. Many of us benefited from his wisdom, friendship and unwavering love for this work. As an approachable leader who knew the importance of mixing guidance with compassion, Gene helped organizations, colleagues and partners grow stronger.

As we celebrate Gene and his accomplishments, we look forward to continuing Mr. Duke’s work under the leadership of Rhett Mabry. Rhett joined the Endowment in 1992 as associate director of Health Care, became our Child Care director in 1998, and was named vice president in 2009. He brings a deep understanding of our strengths and challenges — and our commitment to making a true difference in the Carolinas.

Please join us on the path forward.

Board Chair


The Duke Endowment has focused its funding on Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina to provide ongoing support to help local agencies implement the program successfully.



Getting her son to elementary school used to be a daily struggle. Steven would dawdle over breakfast, and drag his feet getting dressed. When they should have been heading out the door, he’d launch a search for missing homework.

Morning after morning, she’d lose her temper — and they’d still be late for school and work. But after participating in a training program on effective parenting, Steven’s mom now feels she has the tools and skills to help address behavior challenges in her son. Called The Incredible Years, the evidence-based program helps caregivers and children form supportive relationships, which can set the stage for lifelong learning, development and growth.

In North Carolina, a unique public-private collaborative laid the groundwork to bring The Incredible Years to more families across the state. The North Carolina Division of Social Services and the North Carolina Partnership for Children (“Smart Start”) are supporting direct services. The Duke Endowment has focused its funding on Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina to provide ongoing support to help local agencies implement the program successfully.

“Everyone brought different resources and expertise to the table to find an effective way to improve child well-being in North Carolina,” says Sharon Hirsch, president of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina.

Twenty-three sites in North Carolina offered The Incredible Years in 2015 — up from just one site in 2007. Nearly 1,000 caregivers participated.

Project leaders say the North Carolina model is working. In the October 2015 evaluation, 79 percent of participants reported a decrease in harsh discipline and 75 percent reported a decrease in inconsistent discipline. More than 70 percent reported an increase in appropriate discipline; 56 percent reported an increase in clear expectations.

“The partnership strategically targeted an evidence-based program that has been proven to make a difference, and the implementation support is creating a hospitable environment to ensure impact,” says Kristin O’Connor, assistant section chief with the Division of Social Services’ Child Welfare Services.

Dr. Jean Spaulding, chair of the Endowment’s Child Care Committee, agrees. “By supporting this program and its replication, we’re helping the state become a leader in promoting positive parenting strategies,” she says. “But most importantly, the effort is providing resources for caregivers who want to do the best they can for children.”


Helping vulnerable children lead successful lives by supporting early intervention, collaborative approaches and evidence-based programs that help serve children and their families more effectively.





  • Out-of-home care



  • Prevention and early intervention



In 2015, six hospitals in South Carolina and nine in North Carolina became part of a $5 million grant program funded by The Duke Endowment that is focused on improving care transitions and reducing readmissions.



Before she left Baptist Easley Hospital in Easley, S.C., the 88-year-old patient started worrying about going home. She planned to stay with her 95-year-old sister, but she knew her continued care would be difficult.

Through the hospital’s care transitions program, a nurse learned of her concerns and helped coordinate the support she needed to recover at home.

“The program helps patients in the hospital, and connects them to resources after they leave,” says Laura Cole, care transitions program manager at the South Carolina Hospital Association. “The focus is on learning what we can do to provide continuity of services from one care setting to another.”

Poor transitions — especially for frail older adults — can send patients back to the hospital, compromise health gains and add to costs. In one study, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that nearly 20 percent of Medicare beneficiaries were readmitted within 30 days after leaving the hospital. Further research showed that 76 percent of such readmissions could have been avoided. Hospital costs for those readmissions were estimated at more than $17 billion.

In 2015, six hospitals in South Carolina and nine in North Carolina became part of a $5 million grant program funded by The Duke Endowment that is focused on improving care transitions and reducing readmissions.

“Through this two-state collaborative, the hospitals can develop and share best practices,” says Charlie Lucas, chair of the Endowment’s Committee on Health Care. “We believe the lessons learned will help health care systems across the Carolinas improve patient care and outcomes.”

The hospitals are using an assessment tool to identify needs after discharge. Services for high-risk patients include a phone call within 24 hours, a home visit within three days and follow-up care with a physician within seven days. Care Managers assess how confident patients are about receiving the support they need at home and engage them in planning for their ongoing care.

After reviewing initial results, project leaders say they’re already seeing progress with hospitals implementing best practices through the program.

“This addresses a major issue for our patients, communities and hospitals,” says Laura Maynard, director of collaborative learning at the North Carolina Hospital Association’s Quality Center. “But what this program really comes down to is changing a patient’s quality of life for the better.”


Enhancing the lives of individuals and the vitality of communities by promoting prevention, improving the quality and safety of services and increasing access to care.





  • Access to health care



  • Prevention



  • Quality and safety of health care



At each school, the idea is to create physical spaces that best serve students in a rapidly changing, interconnected world. Funding from The Duke Endowment helped pave the way.



At Johnson C. Smith University, a state-of-the-art science center stands at the heart of campus, ready for cutting-edge work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The gleaming building houses centers for renewable energy, medical informatics, analytics and bioinformatics, but the design sets the stage for learning inside the classroom and out.

At Duke University, crews are transforming a gathering space, blending history with modern innovation. The new West Union will offer social and dining opportunities, bringing people together over food and conversation.

At Davidson College, a construction project is creating an Academic Neighborhood to enhance the model of liberal arts education. With a construction and renovation plan for six academic buildings, the project will restructure the main academic portion of campus.

At each school, the idea is to create physical spaces that best serve students in a rapidly changing, interconnected world. Funding from The Duke Endowment helped pave the way.

When James B. Duke established the Endowment in 1924, he included Johnson C. Smith University and three other schools — Davidson College, Duke University and Furman University — as beneficiaries. Early grants provided unrestricted operating support to help the schools weather the Great Depression. In the 1960s, special purpose grants funded new construction and renovations. Later funding launched merit scholarship programs and need-based financial aid.

Today, the Endowment focuses its support on academic excellence, educational access and success, and campus and community engagement. Capital projects remain part of the focus because of the role they play in the pedagogical setting.

While the Science Center at Johnson C. Smith opened in 2015, construction at Davidson and Duke continues. Davidson will occupy new portions of the E. Craig Wall Jr. Academic Center in July 2016; West Union will open that fall.

“On all three campuses, these brick-and-mortar projects will promote scholarship, encourage engagement and elevate the unique aspects of the residential learning environment,” says Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, chair of the Endowment’s Committee on Higher Education. “The goal is to help the schools enhance the campus experience for generations of students to come.”


Working through Davidson College, Duke University, Furman University and Johnson C. Smith University to advance the pursuit of educational excellence, make education more affordable for qualified students and support initiatives and programs that benefit communities.





  • Academic excellence



  • Campus and community engagement



  • Educational access and success



Launched in 2015 with a $405,000 grant from The Duke Endowment, the initiative charts a course for congregations to engage in community change.



Can rural churches play a role in community development?

That’s the question behind a new project linking rural United Methodist clergy in North Carolina and the Institute for Emerging Issues, a non-partisan public policy organization at North Carolina State University. Launched in 2015 with a $405,000 grant from The Duke Endowment, the initiative charts a course for congregations to engage in community change.

“The goal is to give clergy and lay leaders the resources to identify and understand the issues, and help them take informed ideas and solutions back home,” says Dr. Dennis Campbell, chair of the Endowment’s Committee on Rural Church. “At a time when rural communities are experiencing transformational challenges, this strengthens the church’s potential to serve.”

The 50 participants are Fellows and alumni from The Duke Endowment’s Thriving Rural Communities Initiative, a program at Duke Divinity School that focuses on building stronger leaders by preparing clergy for service in rural churches.

Each year, they’ll attend the Institute’s Emerging Issues Forum, a February event that brings together leaders in business, government, education and nonprofits to discuss North Carolina’s long-term economic development.

In April, they’ll participate in the Rural Faith Communities as Anchor Institutions conference, where they’ll work with lay leaders to transform learnings into action plans.

The final outcome will be community-level initiatives led by pastors and their congregations.

As one of the major repositories of social capital in rural communities, churches have the ability to host public conversations about pressing issues, build consensus around solutions, and move people toward collective action, says Pat Cronin, assistant director for policy and programs at the Institute.

“The best thing I’ve seen so far is that congregations are becoming a part of a public policy conversation they may not have seen themselves in,” Cronin says. “It’s giving people a voice in a world that seems increasingly outside their control.”

Allen Stanton, a Rural Church Fellow who worked as the program’s managing director, agrees. “Churches have a responsibility to be in the public square, but they have to figure out what that looks like,” he says. “I think this is one of the models that they can use.”


Developing rural United Methodist churches, supporting their clergy and lay leaders and expanding church outreach across North Carolina.





  • Clergy and lay leadership



  • Congregational outreach



  • Rural church development





The Duke Endowment approved 203 new grants, totaling $152.6 million, some of which will be paid in future years; $122.1 million was distributed through 345 grants, some of which were approved in previous years.


    DISTRIBUTED $9,723,588
    $19,987,203 IN NEW GRANTS APPROVED

    DISTRIBUTED $38,335,121
    $53,260,292 IN NEW GRANTS APPROVED

    DISTRIBUTED $50,671,640
    $52,829,280 IN NEW GRANTS APPROVED

    DISTRIBUTED $16,309,858
    $16,157,492 IN NEW GRANTS APPROVED

    DISTRIBUTED $7,063,065
    $10,324,016 IN NEW GRANTS APPROVED

    DISTRIBUTED $122,103,272
    $152,558,283 IN NEW GRANTS APPROVED



    Since James B. Duke’s death in 1925, the assets of The Duke Endowment have achieved significant growth, from $107 million to $3.35 billion. During the same time, over $3.4 billion has been distributed in grants.


    Almost 82 percent of the Endowment’s total spending goes directly to grantmaking. This compares favorably to foundations of similar size. This chart shows our grantmaking in the context of other spending. This grantmaking volume depends on our ability to invest assets wisely.


    The Duke Endowment’s investment portfolio is managed by DUMAC, Inc., a professionally-staffed investment organization governed by Duke University.



    Last ten years



    Last ten years

    During 2015, the investment return on the Endowment’s portfolio was 2.8 percent. Investment performance benefited from increases in hedged strategies, private capital, real estate, and opportunistic strategies. Impacted by investment returns, grants and expenses, the Endowment’s assets decreased in value from $3.43 billion to $3.35 billion from December 31, 2014 to December 31, 2015.

    For the 10-year period ending December 31, 2015, the Endowment’s investment portfolio, net of fees, returned 7.4 percent annualized, outperforming its policy benchmark by 3.5 percent and a 70 percent MSCI All Country World Index/30 percent Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index benchmark by 2.4 percent annualized over the same period.

  • 2015 Financial Statements 2015 FINANCIALS


Board of Trustees


  • Minor M.

    Greenville, SC
  • Dennis M.

    Vice Chair
    Durham, NC
  • Mary D.T.

    Vice Chair
    Abingdon, VA
  • William
    Barnet III

    Spartanburg, SC
  • John F.A.V.

    Asheville, NC
  • Ravenel B.
    Curry III

    New York, NY
  • Harris E.
    DeLoach Jr.

    Hartsville, SC
  • Constance F.

    Winston-Salem, NC
  • Thomas S.
    Kenan III

    Chapel Hill, NC
  • Charles C.
    Lucas III

    Charlotte, NC
  • Wilhelmina M.

    Alexandria, VA
  • Russell M.
    Robinson II

    Charlotte, NC
  • Jean G.

    Durham, NC
  • Kenneth D.
    Weeks Jr.

    Charlotte, NC
  • Judy

    Washington, DC


  • Eugene W. Cochrane Jr.

  • Ashleigh J. Allessio

    Senior Administrative Specialist, Health Care
  • William F. Bacon

    Director, Evaluation
  • Denton W. Baird

    Fellow, Information Technology
  • Todd W. Dalrymple

    Research and Program Analyst
  • Ronda S. Dwyer

    Senior Administrative Specialist, Health Care
  • Nancy L. Edwards

    Administrative Specialist, Health Care
  • Philip W. Freeman

  • Paula W. Greene

    Events Manager
  • Janet B. Haas

    Senior Administrative Specialist, Evaluation
  • Melinda O. Hardin

    Accounting Specialist
  • Linwood B. Hollowell III

    Associate Director, Health Care
  • Terri W. Honeycutt

    Corporate Secretary/Special Assistant to the President
  • Will A. Jones

  • Julie A. Kemp

    Senior Administrative Specialist, Higher Education/Information Technology
  • Jeri F. Krentz

    Associate Director, Communications
  • Rhett N. Mabry

    Vice President Director, Child Care
  • Jena M. Manilla

    Evaluation Analyst
  • Tania G. Mapes

    Senior Administrative Specialist, Administration/Higher Education
  • Trena McClure

    Senior Administrative Specialist, Rural Church
  • Susan L. McConnell

    Director of Higher Education/Director of Human Resources
  • Arthur E. Morehead IV

    Vice President/General Counsel
  • Laura A. Peres

    Project and Facilities Manager
  • Charity L. Perkins

    Director, Communications
  • Mary L. Piepenbring

    Vice President Director, Health Care
  • Phillip H. Redmond Jr.

    Associate Director, Child Care
  • Kristen R. Richardson-Frick

    Program Officer, Rural Church
  • Karen H. Rogers

    Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer
  • Meka S. Sales

    Program Officer, Health Care
  • Matthew D. Sharp

    Director, Information Technology
  • Natalie C. W. Smith

    Financial and Program Analyst
  • Eric D. Stevens

    Administrative Specialist
  • K. Todd Walker

    Managing Director, Investments
  • Stacy E. Warren

    Program Officer, Health Care
  • Kimberly M. Webb

    Senior Administrative Specialist, Child Care/Finance
  • Robert R. Webb III

    Director, Rural Church
  • Anita W. West

    Accounting Manager
  • Tamika D. Williams

    Program Officer, Child Care
  • Lily H. Zhang

  • Diana Zilberdrut

    Project Specialist, Communications/Investments


Gene Cochrane Gene Cochrane Gene Cochrane Gene Cochrane


Celebrating Three Decades of Service

We wish all the best to Gene Cochrane, our president since 2005, upon his retirement. After joining the Endowment in 1980, Gene directed our Health Care program area from 1991 to 2002 and Higher Education from 2005 to 2012. He guided the Endowment through many significant milestones and had a distinguished career as a leader in philanthropy. We are grateful for his extraordinary service.

  • News image

    Teen pregnancy prevention

    Fewer teens are getting pregnant in the United States, but the battle isn’t won. North Carolina has the 20th highest teen birth rate in the country; South Carolina has the 14th. With research consistently showing the negative outcomes associated with early childbearing, teen pregnancy has far-reaching consequences. The Duke Endowment has launched a special program focused on three strategies: building the capacity of statewide providers to promote teen pregnancy prevention efforts; creating access to Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs) for older teens; and supporting the integration of effective practices into schools and community groups.
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    Health sciences South Carolina

    A first-in-the-nation statewide collaborative is bringing together six research universities in North Carolina and South Carolina and seven major health systems to find solutions to serious health threats. Led by Health Sciences South Carolina and supported by a $15.3 million grant from The Duke Endowment, the Carolinas Collaborative and its Learning Health Community will help experts identify and implement meaningful solutions to the health-related challenges facing us today. By creating an opportunity to share methods, tools and expertise, the collaborative heightens the potential to transform health across the two states.
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    Supporting scholars at Furman

    A $22.3 million grant from The Duke Endowment is helping Furman University bolster its James B. Duke Scholarship, one of the university’s premier merit programs for students who display exceptional academic achievement and personal accomplishment. President Elizabeth Davis says the grant will help Furman attract top students regardless of financial need, and provide valuable experiences to enrich the academic journey.
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    Spirited life initiative

    With funding from The Duke Endowment for development and implementation, a holistic wellness program and behavioral health study called Spirited Life served more than 1,100 United Methodist clergy in North Carolina with impressive results. During the pastors’ two years in the program, the percentage of clergy with metabolic syndrome dropped from 35 to 29; 39 percent had high blood pressure at the start, compared with 32 percent at the end; and 29 percent lost 3 percent or more of their initial weight — enough weight loss to make a difference in overall health. Cholesterol indicators also improved. Direct service has ended, but the initiative remains active through data collection, research and dissemination.
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    The James B. Duke story

    Produced for airing on UNC-TV, our new documentary tells the story of James B. Duke’s humble beginnings on a farm in North Carolina and his rise to become one of the wealthiest industrialists of the 20th century. The film gives a historical look at Mr. Duke, his philanthropy and the Duke family’s impact on the Carolinas.
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    Fellowship program turns ten

    The Duke Endowment created its Fellowship program in 2005 to give emerging leaders a unique opportunity in the philanthropic sector. During their two years, Fellows are exposed to all aspects of philanthropy in the Endowment’s four program areas and learn about opportunities and issues facing the Carolinas. In 2015, we welcomed our tenth Fellow, Will Jones.
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    Dr. William G. Anlyan

    We note with sadness the passing of Dr. William G. Anlyan, a Trustee of The Duke Endowment from 1990 to 2014. Renowned for his distinguished career in medicine, Dr. Anlyan joined Duke University School of Medicine as a medical intern and went on to become professor of surgery, dean of the School of Medicine, and the first chancellor for health affairs for Duke University Health System. He died on January 17, 2016, at the age of 90. Along with many others, we will miss this remarkable man.
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    On the journey

    The Endowment’s blog, On the Journey, is a new vehicle for sharing and learning. We plan to offer insights gained from our own grantmaking and spotlight promising new models and research. It will feature the voices of staff, Trustees and partners, and provide an opportunity for productive conversation.
  • News image

    Carolyn Duff retires

    We said goodbye to Carolyn Duff, our Director of Payroll and Benefits, and wished her well in retirement. Carolyn joined the Endowment in 1999.
  • The Duke Endowment in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a private foundation established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist, James B. Duke. We seek to fulfill his dream for the Carolinas by enriching lives and communities through children’s services, health care, higher education and rural churches. Mr. Duke’s legacy endures today in every life touched, every institution advanced and every innovation discovered.