Donors help Duke add $100 million to undergraduate financial aid

Duke has successfully completed an historic fundraising effort that will bolster undergraduate financial aid—the Lord 100 Challenge.

The challenge galvanized Duke’s donor community to match financial aid gifts dollar for dollar, leading to a total of $100 million for undergraduate financial aid.

“This philanthropic achievement allows Duke to maintain its promise that any deserving student’s life can be transformed through a Duke education,” said Dave Kennedy, vice president for Duke Alumni Engagement and Development.

After the 2019 sale of the Lord Corporation, a privately held manufacturing company formerly based in Cary, N.C., the Lord 100 Challenge set aside $50 million of a more than $260 million total disbursement to Duke. 

Donors were incentivized to participate in the challenge knowing every dollar they contributed—from $500,000 to $2 million—would be doubled up to $100 million total.

To be eligible for the Lord match, gifts had to establish new endowments or be added to existing endowments benefiting undergraduates enrolled in Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Pratt School of Engineering, Sanford School of Public Policy or Nicholas School of the Environment.

The minimum gift of $500,000 represents the largest amount to date Duke has used as challenge match minimum. It was effective in encouraging donors to raise their sights, Kennedy said. For 44% of the donors, the challenge was their first endowed gift to financial aid.

“We have always thought that financial aid was crucial for a university to reach the best and brightest,” Robert Feidelson ’86 said on behalf of his family. “When presented with the Lord 100 Challenge, we jumped at the opportunity to participate. This allowed us to leverage our investment dollars in the best possible way.”

The completion of the Lord 100 Challenge led to the creation of 39 new financial aid endowments and 41 additions to current endowments. Endowment funds established by individual donor families are invested into the Duke University Endowment, where the interest earned may be used only for the purpose indicated in a particular endowment agreement.

Donor challenges like the Lord 100 provide important feedback about how university fundraising priorities resonate with alumni and friends. Challenges also help make it easier for students to attend, and faculty to teach and perform research at Duke.

“As parents who were benefited by financial aid in our own educational journeys as students years ago, we’re passionate today about expanding opportunities for all families,” said Beth Kojima ’99. “Duke is such an extraordinary place, and we’re thrilled to contribute to the school’s impressive efforts to extend its reach as it creates special opportunities for new generations of students.”

TAGS: Gift Announcement