These past few weeks have brought many challenges, but also just as many reminders of why I am so proud to be a member of the Duke University family. At such difficult moments, I am also reminded of the tremendous generosity that has long sustained the Duke community. We are ever grateful for the ongoing support of our alumni, parents, and friends that allows us to stay nimble and innovative. Because many have recently asked what else they might do to assist during this challenging time, I am writing today to tell you about Duke’s launch of three new philanthropic initiatives, with seed funding of $9 million from Duke, that will provide assistance for the most vulnerable members of our university and local communities.
Our students have experienced a tremendous disruption to their lives, and some are facing significant hardship and adversity. The university is addressing some of the most urgent and critical needs, for example by providing students who rely on Duke financial aid for food on campus the cash equivalent of their unused dining funds for use at home.
In addition, we have launched the Duke Student Assistance Fund, with an initial commitment of $4 million from the university, which will benefit undergraduate, graduate and professional students in all schools and help alleviate the unexpected burden of student expenses such as airline tickets, temporary housing, food, lost summer employment, technology for online learning and more. The Duke Alumni Association is also exploring ways that our extraordinary global network can offer their talents in support of our students through mentorship, career guidance, and internship opportunities.
Duke is also working hard to support the health of our neighbors in the community and around the world. In the face of unparalleled challenges, we are mobilizing Duke Health’s resources to treat patients afflicted by the coronavirus and search for a cure for COVID-19. And in collaboration with others, we have launched the new Duke Health COVID-19 Response Fund. The Fund will be used to address the needs of Duke Health patients, caregivers and students impacted by the virus, to expand and accelerate the research underway to combat the virus, and to support emerging areas of greatest need during this pandemic.
We are deeply concerned as well about the broader impact of COVID-19 on our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable among us, and Duke is providing relief through our Duke-Durham Fund. The Fund, with an initial commitment of $5 million from Duke, will provide assistance to area non-profits, small businesses, and community-based organizations to enable them to continue their vital work addressing the immediate needs of local residents and assist in the recovery and renewal of the city that we call home.
Further information about these funds, including the criteria and directions for how to apply for support, will be available shortly on Duke websites and social media channels. Throughout our history, Duke has been called upon to provide real leadership to our region and the world, and today, we hear that call again. We hope that you, our most important and committed colleagues, will join us in this effort. Thank you for all that you do to support the Duke we have always been and the Duke we are destined to become.
Vincent E. Price