Eugene W. Cochrane Jr. became president of the Duke Endowment on January 1, 2005. Founded in 1924 by North Carolina industrialist James Buchanan Duke, the endowment is guided by J.B. Duke’s desire to help the people of North and South Carolina by funding programs in higher education, health care, children’s welfare, and rural United Methodist churches. A member of the endowment’s staff since 1980, and recently elected to the board of the Southeastern Council of Foundations, Cochrane says the organization has shifted its grantmaking during his years from a strategy that just reacts to needs as they arise to one that sets and guides programs in its four funding areas. “Mr. Duke specified that we support organizations, and not issues,” says Cochrane, and “we’ve honored that. But at the same time we try to encourage folks to get more involved in their communities.” One way the foundation does this is by finding ways its four funding divisions can work together to solve community problems. The rural church division, for example, works with the children’s welfare division to provide high-quality day care in rural church settings.
A native Tarheel with a fondness for the state’s rural history—his father still works on the family’s cattle farm near Charlotte—Cochrane is fully aware of the changes the Carolinas are undergoing. Over the past decade, he points out, North Carolina’s Latino community has increased 300 percent. Part of Cochrane’s challenge is to ensure that the organizations the endowment supports are “absolutely as strong as they can be, and reflect whatever their community needs are.”
Duke Endowment is well-equipped to have a significant impact on North Carolina’s changing demographic population. In 2003, the endowment’s corpus stood at $2.3 billion, and it paid out over $108 million in grants. Since its founding, the endowment has distributed $2 billion.
The Philanthropy Roundtable
Samantha F. Ravich has joined The Philanthropy Roundtable as the senior consultant for national security. Formerly a special advisor for national security affairs to Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Ravich is today vice president for proliferation studies at The Long Term Strategy Project, which assess security threats and opportunities facing the United States. As a consultant to the Roundtable, her first priority is to increase the pool of philanthropists funding work on national security and terrorism.
“At it’s heart, the war on terrorism is an ideological war,” she says. The military part of this war will be controlled by government, but “we don’t know yet the full dimensions of this struggle.” For example, while we know we’re battling radical jihadists, we don’t know what the proportion of jihadists in the Muslim world is. “How deep,” she asks, do “their networks run in Muslim charities, in the madrassas [theological schools] in Pakistan and Indonesia and throughout Europe?” This is where the philanthropic world will be crucial. “Government is driven by its in-box,” she says, so “in-depth, rigorous, analytical thinking happens outside of government.”
Beyond bold thinking, Ravich would like to see philanthropists execute and carry out model programs as well. Among programs needed are book translation projects and programs that bring together the best Iranian minds outside that nation to discuss what a post-Islamist government in Iran will look like.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica, California, Ravich is also the author of Marketization and Democracy: East Asian Experiences, published by Cambridge University Press in 2000.