You and the Nicholas School

Everything we do at the Nicholas School—even the school’s very existence—is made possible through the generosity of individuals, couples and families who share our environmental ethos.

Donors like you contribute, by far, the greatest portion of the gifts and pledges that keep our top-flight education and research programs going strong, so we can train the next generation of environmental leaders and advance critical environmental research to inform decisions that can make our world healthier and more sustainable for all.  

Whatever your area of interest or your desired level of giving, we have opportunities for you to make a meaningful impact.

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Learn more about what your gift can accomplish



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The Nicholas School has many opportunities for individuals, couples and families to make a difference through philanthropic support. Here are a few of our current fundraising priorities. We would be happy to discuss these, or other areas of interest, with you so we can find the perfect giving opportunity for you.

Financial Aid

Delivering a premier interdisciplinary environmental education is expensive. You can help us open doors for talented students to make their dreams of pursuing an environmental education at Duke a reality.


Whether supporting our students, faculty, research or education programs, a gift of endowment is the best way to ensure that your support will extend for years to come. When you create an endowment, the principal gift is invested, and each year a portion of the income generated goes toward the designated purpose.

Because gifts of endowment provide the Nicholas School with regular, guaranteed income, these gifts allow the school to plan for the future with greater certainty than otherwise possible. Endowment levels start at $100,000 and can be established to support scholarships and fellowships, faculty chairs, research and programs.

Annual Fund

Annual Fund support helps make everything that happens at the Nicholas School possible. By bringing together gifts of all sizes from alumni, friends, faculty and staff, the Nicholas School Annual Fund exponentially increases the power of each individual to make a meaningful difference.

When you give to the Nicholas School Annual Fund, you help provide a steady stream of flexible resources that can be allocated toward financial aid for our students, educational technology and tools, field trips, internships, curriculum development, career services and more. You can even designate your gift to support a specific program such as the Marine Lab or Duke Forest.

Annual gifts of all sizes are welcomed and appreciated. The Nicholas School recognizes leadership annual contributors at the Summit Society level ($1,000+), the Blue Sky level ($10,000+) or the Blue Sky-Vanguard level ($25,000+) with special recognition and invitations to exclusive events. 


The Nicholas School accepts many types of donations and offers a wide range of giving opportunities. Your gift also can be a useful financial planning tool. We invite you to talk with us about your personal areas of interest and preferred giving level, so we can find the perfect giving opportunity for you.

Donate Money

  • Credit Card: Donate via our secure giving site. The quickest and easiest way to give!
  • Check: Please print a pledge card and mail it with your check.
  • Bank Draft: Call (919) 684-2338 to authorize a one-time or recurring bank draft from your checking account.
  • Electronic Transfer: Call (919) 684-2338 to set up a wire transfer or a transfer via the Automated Clearing House Network (ACH), which may have lower fees than a traditional wire transfer.
  • Payroll Deduction (Duke employees only): Log in to download and submit a payroll deduction form.

Donate Property

  • Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds: Donate via our stock donation form.
  • Personal property: Computers or laboratory equipment, artwork, athletic event tickets and other types of donations are welcome. Call (919) 684-2338 to discuss a donation of personal property. 
  • Real estate: We can accept full or fractional interest in many types of property. Learn more about this option and call (919) 684-2338 to discuss your options.

Make a Planned Gift

  • Bequests and gifts of retirement plans: You can leave money to Duke in your will or revocable (living) trust. You can also name Duke as a beneficiary of a retirement plan, which could enable you to make a larger gift than anticipated because no taxes are imposed when such assets are distributed to Duke. Find sample language and more information.
  • Life income gift: These types of gifts offer an income tax deduction while providing you and your loved ones with income for the duration of your lives or for a specific number of years. Learn more.
  • Charitable lead trust: This type of trust allows you to transfer assets at a reduced tax liability. The tax savings could allow you to donate to Duke at little or no cost to your heirs in terms of ultimate inheritance. Learn more.
  • Retained life estate in property: You can gift real estate to Duke while retaining the right to use the property during your lifetime. This generates an income tax deduction and removes the property from your taxable estate. Call our gift planning staff for more information. 

Contact Us

To discuss giving options and find the best fit for you, contact Associate Dean Kevin McCarthy at the Office of Development & Alumni Relations:

(919) 613-8003