Giving Stories: What’s Your Inspiration?

More Giving Stories

Read about the ideas and inspiration behind gifts from fellow Duke alumni and friends— and share yours with us.

  • My Giving Story: Christian Hernandez

    My Giving Story: Christian Hernandez

    Christian Hernandez had one goal when he was 14: Get into Duke.

  • My Giving Story: Melinda Gates

    My Giving Story: Melinda Gates

    Connections with people—profound and often unexpected—have made all the difference in the world to Melinda Gates.

    They defined her time as a student at Duke and have shaped her path to becoming one of the world’s most influential philanthropists.

  • My Giving Story: Josh Jackson

    My Giving Story: Josh Jackson

    Listen to what Joshua Jackson ’06 has to say to someone on the fence about giving to Duke.

  • Our Giving Story: Jerry and Bev Wilkinson

    Our Giving Story: Jerry and Bev Wilkinson

    “My experience at Duke not only formed me as a person, but transformed me,” said Jerry Wilkinson B.S.E.'67, P’98, P’00, P’03, who received a degree in electrical engineering from Pratt School of Engineering. “Engineering is a discipline that develops problem solving skills, and Duke prepared me to build those life-long skills, to further my engineering studies, and pursue my career.”

  • My Giving Story: Crystal Sanders

    My Giving Story: Crystal Sanders

    Crystal Sanders ’05 shares how Duke changed her life and why she’s been committed to giving to the Annual Fund every year since her senior year.

  • Our Giving Story: David and Karen Cutcliffe

    Our Giving Story: David and Karen Cutcliffe

    David and Karen Cutcliffe share the inspiration behind their recent gift to create an endowment for the Duke Catholic Center.

  • Our Giving Story: Karl and Mary Ellen von der Heyden

    Our Giving Story: Karl and Mary Ellen von der Heyden

    Duke Trustee Emeritus Karl von der Heyden ’62 and his wife, Mary Ellen P’87, have a deep affinity for the arts. As New York City residents since 1987, the von der Heydens have embraced the ever-present and thriving arts culture that the city is known for.

  • Our Giving Story: A gift uniting big data and nonprofits

    Our Giving Story: A gift uniting big data and nonprofits

    Douglas ’88 and Ellen Lowey’s gift combines three things that are close to their hearts—Duke University, nonprofit groups and “big data.”

    As members of several nonprofit organizations’ board of directors, the Loweys have learned the importance of using data to assess and refine the efforts of charitable groups trying to attract donations. To that end, their commitment to Duke will endow an assistant professorship at Trinity College of Arts & Sciences with a preference for research driven by “big data”—collections of information characterized by massive size, tremendous variety and rapid change—to analyze the effectiveness of public interest and non-governmental organizations.

  • My Giving Story: Mary Robinson

    My Giving Story: Mary Robinson

    Duke was a very different university when Mary Robinson ’49 arrived from Ashtabula, Ohio.

    It was September 1945, just weeks after World War II ended. Women students were housed on East Campus, men on West. Women were not allowed to have cars—or men in their classes for the first two years. The Giles Residence Hall house counselor, known as “Mama T,” explained the rules of Southern etiquette to Robinson and other new residents in house meetings. Outside, the workers pulling ivy from the dormitory’s brick walls chatted in German; they were prisoners of war from a nearby army camp.