Around this time last year, we highlighted health-related funding at the Duke Endowment. Back then, there was a strong focus on niche topics like dental care for children and caregiver training for the elderly. We’ve been noticing how steady this foundation's grantmaking continues to be for health causes in the Carolinas. In May, the endowment announced another round of grantmaking along these lines to the tune of around $18.2 million.
But a distinction is that one of the biggest shows of health support in 2017 has been mental health. For example, a major $1.2 million recently went to the Mission Hospital in Asheville to establish a comprehensive mental health program in Western North Carolina. Other topics of interest in this round center on diseases, especially in regards to cancer and diabetes. A $600,000 grant went to UNC Chapel Hill to fund a cancer-related patient navigation program. And a $498,000 grant went to the Medical University of South Carolina Foundation to start a telemedicine program for diabetic patients.
One commonality that we’re seeing in the Duke Endowment’s health funding is a preference for big grants and well-established institutions. This is a funder that often sticks to top hospitals and universities and gives to them consistently and in big ways. Therefore, this might not be the ideal funder for small health clinics and startups without a strong financial backing. One possible exception here is in North and South Carolina counties that don’t have eligible not-for-profit hospitals.
Aside from health funding, this locally focused funder has been exploring some new partnerships in regards to education. Alongside the Lancaster, South Carolina-based J. Marion Sims Foundation, the Duke Endowment provided anchor funding for a new mentoring program to help high school students. This is a $2.2 million public-private partnership that has created South Carolina’s first College Advising Corps, based at Furman University in Greenville.
The goal of this big money is to pair recent college grads with high school students in Chester and Lancaster Counties to help them navigate the college search and application processes. What’s interesting about this program is that the recent college grads will receive $24,930 per year, benefits, and an additional $5,815 stipend to pay for past loans or future education. It’s a pretty unique idea that could stand to become a model for other parts of the U.S., if successful. Furman University is one of three select institutions that frequently sees the endowment’s support. The other two are Davidson College and Duke University.
“At the Duke Endowment, a major focus of our work is making sure students have access to quality colleges and universities,” Minor Shaw, chair of the foundation’s board of trustees said in a press release. “The College Advising Corps is one of the best, most practical tools we’ve seen for putting disadvantaged students on the path to higher education. That’s why we are proud to join the J. Marion Sims Foundation in supporting this exciting initiative.”
The next opportunity to apply for health grants is December 15. In total, the Duke Endowment has given out well over $3.4 billion in grants since it was established in 1924.
Related: Duke Endowment Grants