Inside the Duke Endowment’s Latest Support for Vulnerable Children

As we’ve expanded our philanthropy coverage to the Southeast, we’ve taken a closer look at one leading funder’s grantmaking in the fields of education, oral health, teen pregnancy, nurse-family partnerships, and other niche funding areas. Today we turn our attention to the Duke Energy Foundation’s support for vulnerable children and a new round of child-focused grantees that are now getting Duke’s support.

The Duke Endowment recently announced $7.2 million in new grants to go toward its commitment to high-quality child care. By far, the most money in this recent grant cycle ($2.2 million) went toward youth transitioning from foster care. That $2.2 million went to the National Philanthropic Trust to expand a case management program for this purpose. Another grant went to the South Carolina Research Foundation to develop a health and information exchange to support this cause. Youth in foster care have been a long-standing priority for this funder and continue to be so despite the recent leadership change.

The second largest of these recent grants ($900,000) went to the Forsyth Medical Charitable Foundation to expand a program that’s already been successful in Durham, North Carolina, into Forsyth County. This program provides in-home nursing visits to the parents of newborns, which has been a big issue for the Duke endowment, lately. Duke also likes to support the replication of existing programs in new areas.

When I spoke with the endowment’s Charity Perkins earlier this year, she mentioned that nurse visitations, especially for low-income and first-time mothers, are a key issue for the foundation’s new president. Rhett Mabry is taking over as the endowment’s new president as of June 2016. He previously served as the vice president of the endowment’s child care program, and he assumed the role of director of the child care program back in 1998. Mabry also serves on the North Carolina Governor's Early Childhood Advisory Council.

Other ways that the endowment is supporting vulnerable children in North and South Carolina is by funding programs to reduce unintended pregnancies for teenagers and even young adults well in their 20s. It's also shown support for using predictive data to keep kids safe. With a broad approach to child welfare, the Duke Endowment makes connections with groups that help kids who don’t’ have family support or are at risk of losing it. Other areas of past support in the child care program include overcoming domestic violence, youth mentoring, and parental training. In addition to child, the endowment also awards grants in the fields of healthcare, higher education, and to rural United Methodist churches.

To apply for a prevention and early intervention for at-risk children grant or an out-of-home child care grant, the next pre-application deadline is December 15. You should be able to access the pre-application portal to send yours in around the first of November.