Dragon Fund

Duke School produces outstanding students who are independent learners, thinkers, decision makers, and problem solvers. Without a doubt, it is a magical place for students and their teachers!
We benefit from strong philanthropic support from trustees, parents, grandparents, past parents and friends. Dragon Fund gifts are targeted where they have the largest impact on the education of all of our students: professional development, technology, and financial assistance. Your gift allows our students to interact and learn with the best technology, enables our teachers to remain at the cutting edge of their profession, and helps families, that otherwise could not afford a Duke School education, to attend school.
Every annual Dragon Fund gift is a statement of support and commitment to Duke School and the kind of education we provide to our students. Last year, we raised over $350,000 and more than 500 trustees, parents, grandparents, past parents, and friends made such a statement. We ask you to join them.
If you are associated with a company that matches gifts, your gift can be increased with that match. If you have any questions or wish to give securities, please contact the Development Office.
Please join our Duke School community in giving to the 2020-21 Dragon Fund!

*For more information about independent school giving and fundraising, check out "The Independent School Parent Series - Gifts That Give Back." 

Duke School Giving Clubs

We love to celebrate and recognize all of our donors and do so in the school’s Annual Report. Donors will be recognized according to the giving clubs they have joined based upon their gifts. If you would like to remain anonymous, please contact the Development Office. If you have not yet participated, we ask you to click on GIVING to make a secure donation online. Please know that we are grateful for your support.

Founder's Club $10,000 +
Under the Oak Club $5,000-9,999
Hull Avenue Club $2,500-4,999
Erwin Road Club $1,000-2,499
Dragon's Club $500-999
Maroon Club $250-499
Donor Club $1-249

Dragon Fund FAQs

List of 10 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What is the Dragon Fund and where does the money raised go?

    Each year parents, grandparents, faculty, staff, alumni, corporations, foundations and friends give generously to Duke School’s Dragon Fund. The mission of the Dragon Fund is to help Duke School provide a transformative educational experience for our students while limiting our reliance on tuition. The Dragon Fund has a significant qualitative effect on the school and its programs by providing unrestricted, immediate support of our operating budget. Gifts to the Dragon Fund are used in the current school year and provide a direct investment in:
    Professional Development for Teachers
    Indexed Tuition
    Athletic Enhancements
    Diversity Training
    Facilities Improvements
    Music Program
    Supplemental Gap Fund
  • Q. Why doesn’t Duke School increase tuition to cover the full cost of educating each student?

    The Dragon Fund helps Duke School limit increases in tuition in order to remain competitive as well as to ensure that we don’t prohibit many families from having the opportunity of a Duke School education. Moreover, the Duke School Dragon Fund is not solely the responsibility of our current families but rather a community effort. Through tax-deductible gifts to the Dragon Fund, the generosity of all our donors help keep tuition costs more affordable and ensure Duke School maintains our standard of academic excellence for generations to come. 
  • Q. Who contributes to the Dragon Fund?

    The responsibility for maintaining and enhancing Duke School’s excellence rests squarely on the shoulders of every member of the community who is a beneficiary of its past or guardian of its future.

    We are fortunate to receive support for the Dragon Fund from current families, grandparents, alumni, alumni parents, faculty, staff, corporations, foundations and friends of the school. We believe this show of support from members of our entire community is a testament to the impact Duke School has had in the lives of so many students and their families for more than 65 years and to the difference it will make both in our community and our world in the years to come.
  • Q. Why is my participation important? 

    Duke School needs every member of the school community to make this institution a charitable giving priority through a gift to the Dragon Fund. A high rate of participation demonstrates to other donors from whom we seek funding that those closest to Duke School go above and beyond in their support of the school. Decisions by foundations to support our school are positively influenced by strong, broad support to the Dragon Fund. Every gift, no matter the size, is important.
  • Q. How does a gift to the Dragon Fund differ from capital and endowment gifts?

    Periodic appeals are made for specific needs such as new construction, facility improvements and/or increases to the endowment. These appeals are typical during a capital campaign. While all of these projects are important to the health and longevity of Duke School, the Dragon Fund addresses our most current needs and provides critical unrestricted support during the academic year, and thus is a top priority for the school every year.
  • Q. How much should I give to the Dragon Fund?

    Whether you give because the needs noted above resonate with you, or simply to support a school you have come to love, we ask that members of our community participate in giving to the best of their ability. Modeling healthy philanthropic habits is important for our children, and we hope you’ll keep Duke School at the top of your philanthropic priority list.
    Gifts of all sizes will be gratefully received, well-utilized and acknowledged in the Annual Report unless the donor makes a specific request to remain anonymous.  Gifts, are recognized as part of the following giving clubs:

    Founders Club - $10,000+
    Under the Oak Club  - $5,000-$9,999
    Hull Avenue Club - $2,500-$4,999
    Erwin Road Club -  $1,000-$2,499
    Dragon’s Club - $500-$999
    Maroon Club  - $250-$499
    Donor - $1-249

  • Q. When does the Dragon Fund campaign begin and end each year?

    The Dragon Fund campaign fiscal year begins on July 1, and closes on June 30, each year. 
  • Q. There are so many ways to support Duke School through parent organizations, etc. If I support those efforts, do I need to give to the Dragon Fund as well? 

    At Duke School, as in typical independent school communities, there are numerous opportunities to be involved and participate in supporting the school. We ask that each family, to the extent they are financially able, support the Dragon Fund every year, and that they also participate in periodic appeals made for specific needs such as facility improvements, increases to the endowment and fundraising projects of our parent service organizations.

    Since it provides for the school’s core operating expenses, the Trustees have deemed the Dragon Fund a pre-eminent priority of the school. Our parent organizations play an important role in supporting our families, students and teachers through a variety of outreach and community building opportunities as well as fundraising activities. These organizations also offer fantastic opportunities to be actively involved in our community. 
  • Q. How do I make a gift to the Dragon Fund?

    Duke School operates as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit independent day school and gifts to the school are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
    Cash/Check: Cash gifts or gifts made via check (payable to Duke School) can be sent to:
    Duke School
    Development Office
    3716 Erwin Road
    Durham, NC 27705

    Credit Card: Duke School accepts gifts made via Visa and MasterCard. You also may make your Dragon Fund gift via periodic installments on your credit card. To take advantage of this convenient giving option, visit our website at or contact Nancy Joyce in the development office at 919.493.9968 or via e-mail at

    Securities: Many individuals donate appreciated stock to Duke School. To initiate a stock transfer or cash wire, contact Russell Rabinowitz in the Duke School Business Office at 919-493-9857 or at

    Matching Gifts: Many corporations will match their employee’s gift to Duke School. Any matching gifts will be combined with yours to determine the giving level at which you will be recognized. When applying for a match, companies often ask for the recipient organization’s Federal Tax Identification Number (EIN). Duke School’s EIN is 58-1521494. To find out if your company will match your gift to the Annual Fund, contact your Human Resources department.
  • Q. What if I have other questions about supporting Duke School?

    Email the Development Office at or contact us at (919)493-9968.