$1.1 Million Gift Transforms Duke Alzheimer’s Family Support Program
Lisa Gwyther, Bobbi Matchar and Janeli Smith, social workers pictured, thank their anonymous donor for the $1.1 million gift to transform the scope and reach of Early-Stage Alzheimer’s Community Programs. Dr. Harvey Cohen announced this gift on September 25, 2015 at the 60th anniversary celebration of the Duke Center for the Study of Aging. This is the largest single gift to the Duke Family Support Program in its 35-year history. Lisa Gwyther, founder and director of the Duke Family Support Program, says “this gift will expand the scope, depth, breadth and reach of our Alzheimer’s services.”
Under the leadership of Bobbi Matchar, the Early-Stage Alzheimer’s Community has been growing since the first program was offered in the spring of 2012. The Early-Stage Community program currently includes an eight-week education and support group, a monthly social gathering for graduates of the eight-week group, a monthly arts program in partnership with the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke, and direct links to the Duke Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Center Support Group and Jewish Family Services’ Memory Cafe.
As early-stage participants progress, this gift will connect them to ongoing Duke Family Support Programs like our state-level gateway to individualized information and support, including the Program’s Caregiver newsletter, the Triangle monthly e-news, local support groups and regional educational programs.
The gift will:
- Expand the scope and reach for Duke’s Alzheimer’s early-stage community programs
- Support individuals and families who live with neurocognitive diseases
- Sustain, enrich, and expand education and support programs for individuals with new and progressing early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and their families
- Expand collaborative partnerships beyond continuing early-stage Alzheimer’s partnerships with the Alzheimer’s Association, the Durham-Chapel Hill Jewish Family Services, Duke’s Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Center and Clinic, and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke
- Develop innovative strategies to prepare other professionals and communities outside of Durham to offer quality information and support to individuals and families
- Expand programs for people who live with mild cognitive impairment and for people with early-stage dementia who live alone
For more information about our programs, please visit
Call 919-660-7510 or email DukeFamilySupport@duke.edu