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, 2020, the University’s endowment was comprised of more than 5,500 individual funds totaling approximately $8.5 billion.
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, 2020, the LTP achieved a one-year return of 0.7%. During that time frame, the MSCI All Country World Index (which measures global equity markets) returned 2.1%, and the Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index earned 8.7%.
Learn more about DUMAC, its investment performance, and its risk management.
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.
The spending rate policy is approved by the Board of Trustees. Under this policy, the rate is 5.5% of the average value of Long Term Pool units over the three previous calendar year-ends. A 5.75% rate is used for funds that support financial aid. These rates are subject to a 10% maximum annual growth to help smooth the effect of market fluctuations, while allowing Duke to build its endowment over time.
As of June 30, 2020, about 22% of the endowment was designated for support of financial aid, and 19% 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.