Duke Endowment Grants

OVERVIEW: This funder supports child care, health care, higher education and rural church causes in North Carolina and South Carolina.

FUNDING AREAS: Child care, health care, higher education, rural church

IP TAKE: Since higher education grants are largely spoken for, your best local bet is a health care grant. After higher education, Duke awards the most grants in this category. Make sure to focus your health proposal on health-related access, quality, safety or prevention in the Carolinas.

PROFILE: James Buchanan Duke is considered to be one of the great industrialists and philanthropists of the 20th century. His foundation, The Duke Endowment, was established in 1924 to help people and strengthen communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Duke founded the endowment with $40 million, and it has grown to over $3.4 billion in assets today.

This funder supports four causes: child care, health care, higher education and rural church. Child care grants go toward prevention and early intervention for at-risk children and out-of-home care for youth. Health care grants go toward prevention, access to care, and quality and safety of care. Higher education grants support academic excellence, educational access and success, and campus and community engagement. Rural church grants are for the development of rural churches, congregational outreach, and clergy and lay leadership.

Past areas of interest have included food sustainability, teen pregnancy prevention, foster youth, and improving emergency medical services. You can view past and present funding efforts on the foundation’s Our Work page. The geographic focus of these grants is North Carolina and South Carolina, and organizations must have a presence in one or both states to be eligible for a grant.

In a recent year, the foundation distributed $140 million through 375 grants. You can learn about some of these grantees in the funder’s Grantee Database. The Duke Endowment’s largest focus area in recent years has been higher education, closely followed by health care. Rural church has gotten just slightly more of Duke’s support than child care, but these two categories often see a similar amount of funding

Child care and health care grant applications are due June 15 and December 15, and rural church applications are due August 28 and March 11. For higher education grants, the staff works with eligible grantees to determine when grant requests can be submitted. You can apply for a Duke Endowment grant online, as well as find more information about each of the four funding programs, on the foundation’s Apply for a Grant page.

The Duke Endowment has awarded over $3.3 billion in grants since it was established, and around $1.5 billion of those funds were committed to Duke University. General inquiries can be directed to the Charlotte-based staff at 704-376-0291 or via online form. Keep in mind that each funding area has its own team on the staff.

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