History & Legacy

Timelines: A Century of The Duke Endowment

James Buchanan Duke was one of the great industrialists of the 20th century. He was also a profound and prolific philanthropist whose legacy continues to touch lives through the Endowment he established.

Family and Business
Family and Business(1820–2012)

Touched by loss, Mr. Duke and his family were deeply devoted to one another. As early partners in the family business and philanthropy, siblings Benjamin, James and Mary Duke worked together, guided by the faith and values of their father, Washington Duke.

Early Days
Early Days(1924–1969)

In 1924, James B. Duke signs the Indenture of Trust, establishing The Duke Endowment to nurture children, promote health, enrich minds and uplift spirits in the Carolinas.

Innovation Period
Innovation Period(1970–1999)

The Endowment takes shape through much of the 20th century — shifting its focus from capital building projects and operating support to strategic programming and strengthening communities.

Modern Era
Modern Era(2000–2024)

The past quarter century has seen further strategic shifts and technological advancements that deepen and expand the progress we make on our mission: improving life in the Carolinas.


From Poverty to Power: The James B. Duke Story