The Charles Lafitte Foundation (CLF) recently gifted Duke University $5 million dollars to further a shared goal of solving challenges through innovation.
This new $5 million dollar give will bolster Duke Science and Technology, the university’s signature effort to elevate excellence in the sciences, and support students’ aspirations in pursuing the study of artificial intelligence, fintech, cybersecurity, neuroscience and more.
About the Gift
This is the second gift by CLF to Duke University. Different from the previous gift, the largest portion of this donation will be used to endow a new professorship for the Pratt School of Engineering. This new faculty member will help the school to recruit experienced leaders in fintech, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and cryptographic computing. These new leaders will teach engineering students and prepare them for cutting edge computing fields.
Speaking to the focus of this gift, Charles Lafitte Founder Jeffery Citron stated that “FinTech and other fields built on cutting edge technology evolve at a rate faster than traditional academic practices can support. Providing students direct access to industry leaders will not only serve to educate them in the academic sense but will enable them to be an active part of developing future innovations. Innovative solutions and change are essential elements of the Charles Lafitte Foundation and partnering with Duke to endow this professorship will ensure the foundation can continue achieving our mission in perpetuity.”
In addition to the main focus of the gift, it will also enable the Pratt School to hire an expert to serve as a liaison with the university’s Office of Research and Innovation. Furthermore, it helps create a big-tech internship training program and expand offerings of advanced technical courses that help students gain the practical knowledge required to apply their skills to industry-focused challenges. Also a part of this gift was the renewal of $2.3 million of wide-ranging funding from the foundation’s 2018 gift.
“Support from the Charles Lafitte Foundation has provided new opportunities for action…We are extraordinarily grateful that the Foundation believes in the value of that research.”
– Scott Huettel, chair of Psychology & Neuroscience at Duke
The Citron’s, through their foundation, have chosen to be these donors. Their founding gift will enable dozens of grants over the initial four-year period of the Duke Incubation Fund. Their involvement is personal as it closely coincides with the mission statement that guides their personal foundation. CLF supports innovative and effective ways of helping people help themselves and others around them to achieve healthy, satisfying and enriched lives.
“Innovative ideas are the building blocks to growth, but without the proper research and support most of these innovations never have the opportunity to succeed,” says Jeffrey Citron, founder of CLF and a longtime philanthropist and founder of high-speed Internet and broadband device company Vonage. “Entrepreneurship has always been a passion of mine and a leading force behind our family foundation, the Charles Lafitte Foundation. Innovation and change were essential elements considered when Suzanne and I created the mission of CLF, which is to support innovative and effective ways of helping people to help themselves and others around them to achieve a better life. Partnering with the University to establish the Duke Incubation Endowment Fund ensures that CLF can continue achieving this mission in perpetuity.”
Read more about this gift in the official announcement post.