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.