Durham, NC - 4/23/2024

NCInnovation Surpasses $25 Million in Private Fundraising Commitments

Milestone checks off another legislative requirement months ahead of schedule

Durham, NC – NCInnovation, a non-profit organization that helps unlock the innovative potential of North Carolina’s world-class public universities, today announced it surpassed $25 million in private fundraising commitments with recent pledges from SAS, Pinnacle Financial Partners, and Huntington National Bank’s affiliated foundation, the Huntington Foundation.

NCInnovation helps university inventions advance towards commercialization – accelerating the transition from academia to industry – by supporting university applied research through the critical R&D phase between proof concept and readiness for the private market. Private dollars fund NCInnovation’s overhead and other expenses so earnings from the NCInnovation endowment can support public university researchers.

Kelly King, Chair of NCInnovation’s Board of Directors, said, “Some of the most impactful companies in North Carolina and the United States have put funding behind NCInnovation’s mission, and I’m deeply grateful for their support. Together with the NCInnovation endowment established by the legislature, this public-private partnership will provide the support North Carolina public university researchers need to further develop groundbreaking discoveries.”

State law required NCInnovation to secure $25 million in private fundraising commitments before additional state funds can be added to the NCInnovation endowment, which can happen as early as July 1, 2024. In reaching the $25 million private commitment threshold, NCInnovation has completed another legislative requirement months ahead of schedule. In the six-month period since the state budget funding NCInnovation became law, notable accomplishments include:

  • Created four regional innovation networks anchored by hub institutions and staffed by regional directors collocated at UNC System campuses around the state;
  • Initiated a statewide technology development strategy, which NCInnovation anticipates publishing in the coming months, to guide future applied research investments across North Carolina;
  • Assembled a veteran leadership team with deep expertise in their respective fields;
  • Fulfilled all Fiscal Year 2024 legislative requirements, to include amendments to NCInnovation’s Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and new Conflict of Interest and Gift policies;
  • Established separate bank accounts for State and private funds, earning more than $3.1 million in interest on the State funds;
  • Finalized and launched an RFP for an independent third-party investment manager to help oversee the NCInnovation endowment;
  • Finalized core programs and criteria, and provided the required notices to the General Assembly;
  • Surpassed the FY25 funding requirement to achieve at least $25 million in private philanthropic commitments;
  • Collaborated with regional innovation network universities to launch an initial pilot grant process.

In the coming weeks, NCInnovation expects to review pilot grant applications, with potential award decisions made at the May meeting of NCInnovation’s Board of Directors.

See a list of the major state and national companies that have contributed to NCInnovation here.

NCInnovation is 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation focused intensely on accelerating commercialized innovation from North Carolina’s universities. NCInnovation deploys funding, mentors, and support services so that North Carolina university proofs-of-concept turn into companies and create jobs that remain in North Carolina. Learn more at