DA Fund

The Durham Academy Fund is the most important fundraising effort of the year. Proceeds cover the gap between tuition and the true cost of a DA education.

Unrestricted giving to the Durham Academy Fund is put to use immediately and supports the programs and people that make DA extraordinary. Every gift matters, and the entire DA community is encouraged to be invested and involved in DA's culture of giving. 

The DA Fund Supports:

  • life-changing teachers
  • vibrant visual and performing arts
  • competitive athletics
  • financial aid for talented and deserving students
  • robotics and cutting-edge technology
  • special events and guests
  • strong experiential education

“Since joining the DA community in 2016, we have been pleased to give to a place that helps our children work toward creating the footprint they ultimately would like to have on their community and beyond.”

Anna Hunter

Alex Isley

“I'm really grateful for the investment [my parents made in my education at DA], because I think I learned more in those first nine years than I have in any other school or college I ever went to afterward.”

Alexander Isley
Class of 1980

Dr Cindy Moore

“I am in awe of the people that I work with and that my kids are spending their day with, and I'm so blessed and fortunate for them to have this opportunity. [In making a gift], I am saying thank you and that I am honored to be a part of the DA family.” 

Dr. Cindy Moore
DA Learning Specialist and Parent

Sara Pottinger

"Our kids were the beneficiaries of a school that had been built by others before us, and we really believed that it was our turn to leave an even better school for kids coming after ours."

Sara Pottenger
Parent of Alumni


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the DA Fund, and how is the money used?

The Durham Academy Fund is the cornerstone of philanthropy at DA. It is the largest fundraising effort of the year and bridges the gap between tuition income and the school’s operating expenses. For 2019–2020, the gap is $2,360 per student.

Could DA just increase tuition?

Independent schools have a long tradition of asking families to contribute over and above the cost of tuition. In fact, most rely on the generosity of their community. Augmenting tuition with DA Fund dollars allows the school to keep tuition at a competitive rate. Contributions to the DA Fund are tax-deductible, while tuition payments are not.

How much am I expected to give?

Durham Academy hopes each family gives according to their means. Because every student and every teacher benefit from the DA Fund every day, DA believes every family should participate. We are deeply grateful for every gift, whatever the amount. DA parents have a strong tradition of supporting the DA Fund.

When will I be asked for my gift?

Families are sent more detailed information and personalized requests in the fall. Parent volunteers and development staff make follow-up calls in October and November to answer questions and encourage participation.

Can I make a pledge and pay it later?

Yes! Pledges are due in full by June 30. DA offers installment options and accepts gifts of stock. Credit card donations may be made online.

How will my gift be recognized?

Gifts of all sizes are important and are recognized in the school’s annual report. DA is especially grateful to leadership donors, who provided 72 percent of the total dollars raised last year. Donors of $2,500 or more are members of the Cavalier Circle and are honored at an annual spring donor reception; donors of $7,500 or more are members of the Diamond Society and are honored at an annual fall dinner.


2018–2019 DA Fund at a Glance

  • $1,301,498 raised for 2018–2019 DA Fund (a new record!)
  • Average gift to 2018–2019 DA Fund: $883
  • 1,474 DA Fund donors in 2018–2019
  • $165,391 raised for the DA Fund on Giving Day 2019, by 1,098 donors in 26 states (plus the Netherlands and the UK)
DA Fund Participants 2018-2019

Participation percentages are based on the number of donors solicited.


Leadership Giving

The success of the Durham Academy Fund depends on gifts above and beyond the average level of giving. Leadership gifts provided 75% of total dollars raised in 2018–2019.

In recognition of those parents, alumni, faculty and staff, grandparents, parents of alumni and friends who make especially generous contributions to the DA Fund, Durham Academy offers annual membership in special giving clubs. 

Diamond Society

DA recognizes its most generous donors with membership in the Diamond Society. Membership begins with a gift of $7,500 or more. Donors are honored at an annual fall dinner.

Cavalier Circle

Donors at the level of $2,500 and above are members of the Cavalier Circle and are honored at an annual spring reception.

Alumni Leadership Donors

Gifts of all sizes help us reach our goal. Alumni who give $500 or more or who give for three consecutive years are recognized as leadership donors. Alumni leadership donors are honored at an annual spring reception.

Chris Mark

Thank you for your support! Have questions or want to get involved?

Contact Chris Mark, Director of the DA Fund, via email or at 919-489-6569 x6147.