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Despite Financial Crisis, A Strong Annual Fund

A Message from Dean L. Gregory Jones

One of the key components of the Divinity School’s strong finish to the past fiscal year was the Annual Fund campaign for 2008-09, which ended June 30. Annual fund contributions exceeded our budgeted goal, which is heartening news in this financial climate, and at a time when many of the other schools of the university have experienced sharp declines in annual fund giving.

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Why David Ruth D’03 gives to the Annual Fund

It was particularly gratifying to see so many of our faculty and staff take on fundraising roles in an effort to reach donors as we wrapped up the fiscal year. We are especially grateful for the many members of our community who also came forward to make generous gifts in support of student financial aid.

The fund is a barometer that indicates the support of our most dedicated alumni and friends. It is good to know that those whom we have served most consistently are supportive during these times.

Many of our donors have made it clear to me that the reasons for their continued loyalty include both the quality of our graduates and our steadfast commitment to our mission of forming people for faithful Christian ministries — especially for ministries in the local church. I take the strong showing of our annual fund to be a sign of our incredible strengths in times when too many institutions are struggling primarily with their weaknesses.

Thanks to the generous helping of support for Duke Divinity School’s Annual Fund, the fiscal year ended with a fuller measure for student financial aid than projected. Faithful giving from alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the school was instrumental to that success. As the shortfall in the endowment income continues in the coming year, generous gifts are needed to ensure the future of ministry. All Annual Fund gifts support student financial aid.
Gifts of all size make a difference.

That said, the financial crisis is real. The impending deficits from endowment income are far too large to be confronted with budget cuts. Cuts of this size would weaken the Divinity School even in the short term and make it difficult, if not impossible, for it to recover its current strengths. Thus we have no choice but to act, as faithfully and imaginatively as possible, in order to create a new financial model and to adapt to changes in the church, the academy (including especially Duke University), and the world.

Thankfully, during the summer five faculty- staff task forces came up with promising ideas which we will be developing further. As we move into this next phase, I ask that you lend both your minds and your prayers to what we can do to meet the challenges confronting the church and Duke Divinity School.

To learn more about options for giving, contact Jami Moss Wise or Wes Brown at the Divinity School by calling 919.660.3456.