The Board of Trustees, through its Committee on Investments and investment staff, oversee, review and implement investment policies and guidelines. They are guided by two objectives: to support program initiatives and beneficiaries and to preserve the value of The Duke Endowment portfolio.

In 1924, our founder James B. Duke made an initial gift of $40 million. A bequest of $67 million was added to the Trust after his death in 1925. Since then, the assets of The Duke Endowment have achieved significant growth, from $107 million to $5.9 billion. During the same time, more than $4.3 billion has been distributed in grants.

Total Net Assets

(in $ billions)

Investments Assets 2021 Investments Assets
Investments Assets 2021 Investments Assets Decade

2021 Investments

The Duke Endowment’s investment portfolio is managed by DUMAC Inc., a professionally-staffed investment organization in Durham, N.C., governed by Duke University. Please see the DUMAC website for additional information, including its approach to diversity and responsible investing.

During 2021, the investment return on the Endowment’s portfolio was 42.2 percent.* Investment performance benefited from increases across asset classes, especially in private capital, global equity and commodities. 

The Endowment’s investment portfolio increased in value from $4.6 billion to $5.8 billion from December 31, 2020, to December 31, 2021, impacted by investment returns, grants and expenses. The Endowment’s total assets were $5.9 billion at year end. 

For the 10-year period ending December 31, 2021, the Endowment’s investment portfolio, net of fees, returned 13.0 percent annualized, outperforming its policy benchmark, which returned 8.1 percent annualized, and a 70 percent MSCI All Country World Index/​30 percent Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index benchmark, which returned 9.3 percent annualized over the same period. 

*Investment return is based on pre-audit investment valuations.

2021 Grants & Expenses

Investments Assets 2021 Investments Grants Distributed
Investments Assets 2021 Investments Grants Expenses

Since James B. Duke’s death in 1925, about $4.3 billion has been distributed in grants.

Over 80 percent of the Endowment’s total spending goes directly to grantmaking. This compares favorably to foundations of similar size. This chart shows our grantmaking in the context of other spending. This grantmaking volume depends on our ability to invest assets wisely.

View additional information in the 2021 Annual Financials Statement or contact us to request further details.

The Duke Endowment’s Indenture of Trust