Duke Divinity gets $5.74 million from Duke Endowment

Jun. 03, 2013 @ 07:13 PM

The Duke Endowment has committed $5.74 million to Duke Divinity School.

Money from the endowment, which is based in Charlotte and is one of the largest private foundations in the Southeast, will fund the school’s Clergy Health Initiative.

The initiative works to improve and study the health of United Methodist clergy in North Carolina, according to a Duke news release.

Dennis Campbell, a Duke Endowment trustee and chairman of the Endowment’s Committee on Rural Church, said in the release that the Endowment is pleased to support the initiative.

“We’re giving pastors the tools to take care of themselves so they can continue the important job of taking good care of their congregations,” Campbell said.

The Duke Endowment originally funded the project in 2007 with a gift of $12 million. Over the past six years, the project’s research has shown there is a critical need for health programs tailored to clergy, according to the release.

Compared to other North Carolinians, United Methodist clergy have higher rates of obesity (40 percent to 29 percent), diabetes, asthma and arthritis. About 10.5 percent of them also show signs of depression, nearly double the national average.

The new funding will allow the Clergy Health Initiative to extend the study and further analyze its data as well as support Spirited Life, a multi-year health intervention program offered to pastors in North Carolina and Western North Carolina conferences of the United Methodist Church. Spirited Life combines weight loss and stress management interventions into one program. More than 60 percent of the eligible clergy have enrolled in Spirited Life.