Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

At The Duke Endowment, we work toward one over-arching goal: To improve life for the people of North Carolina and South Carolina.

To meet that ambitious standard, our work must reach those of all races, ages and backgrounds. As we strive to improve health care, child and family well-being, higher education and rural churches and communities, deep-rooted racial inequities and socioeconomic disparities impede the positive outcomes we seek. People of color contribute every day to the prosperity and vibrancy of our communities, but far too many fall short of their dreams of successful, happy lives. Compared to whites, African Americans, Latinos and Indigenous people in our states are more likely to live in poverty, struggle to graduate from high school and lack access to doctors.

Poverty Rate

Poverty Poverty Rate NC
Poverty Poverty Rate SC

High School Students not Graduating on Time

Poverty HS grad NC
Poverty HS grad SC

Adults Reporting Not Having a Personal Doctor

Poverty No Dr NC
Poverty No Dr SC

Adults Reporting Not Seeing a Doctor in the Past 12 Months Because of Cost

Poverty No Dr 1yr NC
Poverty No Dr 1yr SC

NSD = Not sufficient data available.

We can’t truly advance when large swaths of the population get left behind. With that in mind, the Endowment strives to be intentional about the role it can play to address and mitigate racial and economic disparities. We apply a racial equity lens to both our grantmaking and our internal operations. Recent examples of our efforts to center racial equity include our response to COVID-19, in which we directed funding to organizations serving communities of color. We also disaggregate data on our giving, seeking to ensure that our work reaches across racial and socioeconomic lines. 

We are committed to maintaining momentum with our efforts, but it is important to realize that this a long-term process. We will not achieve our goals in a year or two, and the quest to refine our approach and our initiatives must advance in a spirit of transparency, humility and continuous learning. To ensure that the goal of racial equity, diversity and inclusion remains in sight in the years ahead, we have threaded an equity focus through the learning and evaluation plans our program areas use to gauge the effectiveness of their work. 

We take these steps not out of an ideological impulse, but in simple pursuit of achieving maximum impact with the dollars James B. Duke entrusted to our care nearly a century ago. Our guiding principles require us to follow Mr. Duke’s intent to address current and emerging needs, provide ethical leadership by seeking diverse opinions, direct resources where they will produce the best results, and build effective relationships with grantees by listening to them, learning about their communities and challenges, and working together toward solutions. 

Our initiatives in racial equity, diversity, and inclusion fall squarely within that mandate. We look toward the day when such targeted efforts are rendered unnecessary. Until then, we join with others across the Carolinas in working to bring that goal within reach.

By centering families’ voices in our work and being truly responsive to their needs, that is how we build an equitable system.”

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