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, 2023, the university’s endowment was comprised of more than 6,000 individual funds totaling approximately $11.6 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 LTP is managed by DUMAC Inc., a professionally staffed investment organization controlled by Duke University. DUMAC is governed by an 11-member board of directors and invests endowment assets principally through investment advisory firms and partnerships.
In addition to managing the university’s endowment, DUMAC manages the Duke employees’ retirement pool and Duke University Health System’s investments and invests much of the university’s working capital. DUMAC also manages the assets of The Duke Endowment, the private charitable trust established by Duke University’s founder, James B. Duke.
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, 2023, about 23% 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.