Our priorities are community-informed. Together we identified five focus areas in which Duke can forge purposeful partnerships to advance quality of life in Durham. Below is a list of significant engagements and initiatives in partnership with community.


Duke has engaged with communities to address affordable housing, community arts and recreation, and neighborhood infrastructure in Durham. Engagements occur across Duke in collaboration with a variety of community partners. Duke strives to achieve reciprocal and equitable partnerships like those currently modeled by the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership (DDNP), which supports 14 surrounding neighborhoods in priorities developed through community listening. Those priorities include housing access and quality, economic development, and neighborhood preservation. Other Duke initiatives include partnerships in the arts, access to technology, climate and sustainability, historic preservation, and community development research and programming.

“The food from our garden serves Jubilee Home staff and residents - folks in one of Durham's worst food deserts were given access to seasonal, fresh fruits and vegetables.”

David Crispell, Executive Director, Jubilee Home


More Housing Engagements »


As a healthcare provider, Duke invests in community health initiatives. Early collaborations to open community health clinics in Durham and coordinated access to healthcare are foundational to Duke’s community health infrastructure. The establishment of the joint Duke Health and Duke University Community Health office helped address drivers of health holistically to improve the well-being of people and neighborhoods.

“Our programs work to provide access to and promote the consumption of healthy fresh foods that are often not affordable for local low-income residents.”

Debbie Horwitz, Executive Director, PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro


More Health Engagements »


Investing in the education and general well-being of young children is crucial for improving quality of life for Durham communities in the years to come. With more than 45,000 school aged children in Durham, Duke forges partnerships in education by investing in schools and neighborhoods surrounding the university, as well as providing funding and programming for students, teachers, and parents. Special attention is given to initiatives that support public education for Durham’s children, including school partnerships, student readiness and achievement, teacher training and retention, and family and community engagement.

“We hadn't anticipated how deeply the personal impact of the Community Baby Shower event would be for families. ”

Monica Richardson, Executive Director, Triangle Area Parenting Support


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As one of Durham’s largest employers, as well as an educational institution, Duke is dedicated to improving the college and career possibilities of Durham’s young people. As Durham has grown, opportunities have not reached many existing residents and the Raleigh-Durham region ranks among the lowest in the nation for economic mobility. In partnership with local school districts, Duke is committed to supporting high school persistence and completion rates for Durham high school students and to promote college awareness and readiness through advising and programming. Through partnerships to improve post-secondary and workforce development opportunities, college and career readiness programs are available for middle and high school students.

“The Success Summit Scholars Program aims to tackle the root causes that have kept low-income, Black male youth out of Durham’s thriving innovation economy.”

Derek Rhodes, Executive Director, Durham Success Summit


More Employment Engagements »


Building upon historical partnerships and adapting to community needs, there is an effort to build ongoing connections with reciprocity and equity among the thousands of nonprofits and community-based organizations in the region. Organizational capacity-building activities are designed to promote scholarship, service, and collaboration by centering civic engagement efforts by Duke faculty, staff and students through Duke’s offices, academic and professional schools.

“The mission of World Relief Durham’s Refugee and Immigrant Youth Services (RIYS) program is to come alongside refugee and immigrant youth, their families, and their teachers to facilitate healthy integration into life in the US, and particularly seeking to improve their experiences and achievements in school.”

Adam Clark, Director, World Relief Durham


More Community Engagements »