Duke University’s Endowment

The mission of Duke University’s endowment is to support the people, programs, and activities of the university in perpetuity. Over the years, growth of the endowment through investment return and charitable giving has enabled the university to provide scholarships and fellowships to students, build faculty excellence, launch new programs and research efforts, and support a wide range of important needs.

As of June 30, 2021, the University’s endowment was comprised of more than 5,600 individual funds totaling approximately $12.7 billion.

 

Management

Duke’s endowment assets are managed collectively. Much the way individual investors pool their assets in a mutual fund, each of the individual funds comprising the university’s endowment owns units in Duke’s Long Term Pool (LTP). The Long Term Pool is managed by DUMAC Inc., a professionally staffed investment organization controlled by Duke University.

For the year ending June 30, 2021, the LTP achieved a one-year return of 55.9%. During that time frame, the MSCI All Country World Index (which measures global equity markets) returned 39.3%, and the Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index earned -0.3%.

Learn more about DUMAC, its investment performance, and its risk management.

Spending

The university employs spending and investment policies designed to provide a stable flow of support for the university’s annual operations while preserving the future purchasing power of the endowment.

A per unit endowment spending rate is established and approved annually by the university’s board of trustees. This rate seeks to balance an inflation-adjusted level of spending with growing the value of investment assets to support future spending–preserving intergenerational equity. To the extent that total investment returns exceed the amounts distributed under the approved spending rate, the market value of the endowment increases.

As of June 30, 2021, about 22% of the endowment was designated for support of financial aid, and 20% was designated for support of specific faculty positions. Nearly one-third of the endowment was designated for unrestricted support of the university or one of its schools or budget centers.

Designations of Endowed Funds

Learn more about endowment giving.

Download Duke University’s Endowment Snapshot in PDF format here.