Bass Connections is made possible by more than 70 donors, including our founding donors Anne T. and Robert M. Bass, who launched Bass Connections through a $50 million gift, including a generous $25 million matching gift challenge. Bass Connections donors have established 86 funds to support project teams, educational programming, faculty engagement and linkages between Bass Connections and other university programs.

By investing in Bass Connections, our alumni and friends play a vital role both in building this transformative program to its full potential and helping to set Duke apart among top universities.

The following are examples of areas to which donor support can be directed to continue to build the impact of the program. For more information, please visit Giving to Duke.

Flexible Program Support

Flexible program endowment funds are crucial to sustaining and growing the program over time. The funds will support the program's top priorities: project teams, summer research experiences and educational innovations. The Bass Family's founding gift covers the costs of Bass Connections' core operations, enabling new gifts to go directly towards student and faculty support.

Project Teams

Our year-long project teams connect students and faculty throughout campus to tackle compelling challenges. Teams work together over the course of a year, or sometimes longer, traveling to collect data or meet with collaborators and immersing themselves in their question or problem. Team members experience the complexity of societal problems in applied contexts, the value of integrating areas of knowledge and the importance of teamwork to addressing the most pressing problems of the day. New gifts can be directed towards project teams addressing specific, but broad, issue areas including but not limited to climate change, mental health or urban development. 

Summer Research Experiences

Bass Connections offers an expanding number of opportunities for students to engage in interdisciplinary, team-based research over the summer. For undergraduates, these programs serve as a gateway into more in-depth research experiences and provide relevant experience for their resumes. For graduate students, who often participate as project managers, these summer experiences develop leadership and management skills. The projects, which typically have an applied element, also further a faculty member’s research or benefit a community partner.

Curricular Innovations

In addition to research experiences, Bass Connections is integrating the model of interdisciplinary, team-based inquiry around societal challenges into the curriculum by supporting the development or redesign of a growing number of courses. Courses that are affiliated with Bass Connections enable students to experience the Bass Connections model of education during one semester. These courses may serve as a gateway into a research experience, or an avenue for students to continue pursuing a certain style of learning and a line of inquiry following a research experience. Regardless, these courses help students develop critical teamwork and applied learning skills.