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Support the Sanford School in the Duke Forward Campaign

Over the past four decades, Sanford has evolved from a small interdisciplinary institute into one of the nation’s most respected schools of public policy. Today, we continue to advance the major discussions of our time and to educate the next generation of ethical policy leaders.

As part of Duke’s university-wide $3.25 billion fundraising campaign, Duke Forward, we seek $75 million investments that will allow us to continue the path forward. Philanthropic support will help us prepare students to translate policy into practice in a complex and highly connected world. Campaign contributions will also enable us to extend existing faculty strengths to develop educational programs, research, and solutions that make a difference for society.

Enriching the Student Experience

Hands-on experience is a central pillar of a Sanford education, providing students at all levels with a chance to connect theoretical discussions with a view of how policy decisions play out in the world.

Through a combination of signature programs such as the Hart Leadership Program—which combines coursework with community-based projects—and curricular requirements like internships, we help students learn how they can use their talents to address society’s needs.

The Duke Forward campaign will allow the Sanford School to enhance and expand opportunities for our students to delve into policy analysis and implementation. We seek investments in immersive programs like our Duke in D.C.―Policy, Leadership and Innovation program, a semester in the nation’s capital that combines coursework, exposure to political decision-makers, and an internship. And we’ll work to ensure broad access to core programs that make a Sanford education both distinctive and profoundly useful.

OUR GOAL: $11 MILLION Learn How You Can Support Student Internships and Immersive Programs

Activating Sanford’s Power in the World

Former Duke president and North Carolina governor Terry Sanford believed a powerful measure of any great university is its capacity to make its research relevant to real-world problems. It was this idea that led him, with Professor Joel Fleishman, to launch Duke’s first public policy program in 1971.

Today, this vision continues to drive Sanford students and faculty, who are key partners in Duke’s interdisciplinary initiatives in global health, energy, the environment, and other strategic efforts. As part of the campaign, we seek philanthropic investments in the people and programs that can help to shape policy solutions to benefit our society.

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  • Photo of Helen Ladd teaching

    Thinking Creatively about Education Challenges

    Education policy expert Helen “Sunny” Ladd researches how poverty impedes learning and how policy changes may help. In 2012, she earned Duke’s University Scholar/Teacher of the Year award. Trained as an economist, the Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy has explored the effects of school choice and giving schools broad autonomy in their governance in both New Zealand and the Netherlands. In the United States, she evaluates the efficacy of charter schools and policies related to school accountability and teacher performance. “One of the most valuable things we can do as scholars is to prepare the next generation of researchers and policymakers,” she says.

How will your gifts help activate Sanford's power in the world?

  • Innovative Research to Advance Knowledge
  • Global Health Faculty and Research
  • Energy & Environment Faculty and Research
  • Domestic and Global Policy Program Funding

OUR GOAL: $31.5 million Learn How You Can Help Activate Sanford’s Power in the World

Sustaining Sanford’s Momentum

The Sanford School’s passionate students and talented faculty are the foundation of our current success and the source of our future strength. Through this campaign, we seek funding to support top students, recruit and retain sought-after faculty, and maintain the flexible operating support that fuels everything our students and faculty do.

Faculty Support — Sanford School faculty include nationally recognized scholars as well as professors of the practice who bring years of policy-relevant work experience to the classroom. These faculty are highly sought after by other top universities, industry, government agencies, and think tanks. To hire and retain dedicated teachers and innovative scholars—particularly in emerging areas of study—the Sanford School needs new endowment for named chairs and research funds.

Scholarships and Fellowships — Many professional opportunities in the policy sector pay modestly at best. To encourage top undergraduate and graduate students to pursue professions where they take on complex public policy challenges, we must offer resources that will make their Sanford School experience both superlative and affordable.

The Sanford Annual Fund — As Duke’s newest school, we need the resources to grow thoughtfully and responsively. Unrestricted operating funds provided by the Sanford Annual Fund give us the ability to do just that by advancing our most pressing needs and promising opportunities. Learn more about the Sanford Annual Fund.

OUR GOAL: $32.5 Million Learn How You Can Sustain Sanford's Momemtum

Sanford Annual Fund Story

The Annual Fund helped Chris Paul obtain his PhD in environmental policy.

"I’m particularly proud of my dissertation project, a collaboration with faculty across disciplines on the intersection of climate, water, and health in Ethiopia. It would not have been possible without your Annual Fund contributions—so thank you!"