Duke Energy celebrates Earth Day with $100,000 in grant funding to improve access to South Carolina parks, trails

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  • Funding is part of $400,000 monthlong campaign focused on sustainability, environmental efforts across Palmetto State. 

  • Grants will support projects by South Carolina State Parks, The Nature Conservancy, Palmetto Trail and Foothills Trail.

GREENVILLE, S.C. – On Earth Day, the Duke Energy Foundation is awarding $100,000 in grants to organizations that maintain critical access to parks and trails across South Carolina, ensuring future generations enjoy the immeasurable benefits of the natural resources of the Palmetto State.

This effort is part of a monthlong initiative by Duke Energy to highlight organizations and programs that enhance and promote a sustainable future for South Carolina. This campaign will provide nearly $400,000 to numerous nonprofits and governmental agencies and highlight global efforts like Earth Day and Arbor Day at the local level.

To celebrate Earth Day, the company is providing $25,000 grants to four organizations that will use the funding to improve trail access in natural areas under their care:

  • South Carolina State Parks: Funding will improve handicap accessibility to Lake Placid at Paris Mountain State Park.
  • The Nature Conservancy in South Carolina: Grant will help build a new 20-mile stretch of trail at Jones Gap State Park called the Gap Creek Extension.
  • Palmetto Trail: Funding will also support the Gap Creek Extension as well as updated trail signage, a trailhead kiosk and future trail planning efforts.
  • Foothills Trails: Grant will help replace existing wooden footbridges throughout the Foothills Trail and upgrade equipment used to manage the trail.

Earlier this month, Duke Energy kicked off the initiative by providing PalmettoPride $100,000 to support the programs in local communities managed by the 37 Keep South Carolina Beautiful affiliate organizations, who focus on litter pick up and beautification throughout their areas.

The campaign continued by highlighting TreesUpstate and the Energy Saving Trees Program. Since 2016, Duke Energy Foundation funding has supplied more than 15,000 free trees through the Energy Saving Trees Program, and most recently provided $78,000 in grant funding to support expanding the program through outreach to underrepresented Hispanic communities and translating materials into Spanish.

Duke Energy employees and retirees are also volunteering their time and efforts throughout the month with these and other organizations to support programs in their local communities.


  • “Duke Energy is an incredible partner to South Carolina State Parks,” said Paul McCormack, director of South Carolina State Parks. “Accessibility improvements between the Visitors Center and Lake Placid at Paris Mountain will increase opportunities for users with mobility impairments to access a beautiful part of the park, and the Jones Gap Trail extension will help expand some of the best hiking trails in the state. Duke Energy’s support helps us protect more treasured places and – as importantly – it helps ensure we can share those places with more visitors.”
  • “Five years ago, the Duke Energy Water Resources Fund generously supported The Nature Conservancy’s purchase of a 955-acre property to expand Jones Gap State Park,” said Dale Threatt-Taylor, executive director for The Nature Conservancy in South Carolina. “Today, this additional $25,000 investment from the Duke Energy Foundation will support the design of more than 20 miles of trails that will traverse throughout that property. Providing more outdoor recreational access for South Carolinians to enjoy is an ideal way to celebrate Earth Day, and we’re excited to have the foundation’s continued support in protecting and stewarding special landscapes in the Upstate and beyond.”
  • “The Palmetto Trail believes in the power of partnership and is pleased to join the company of South Carolina State Parks, Foothills Trail and The Nature Conservancy in efforts to expand and maintain nature-based trails in the Upstate,” said Mary Roe, executive director of the Palmetto Conservancy. “We appreciate Duke Energy's continued support of the Palmetto Trail project and together we are providing more cross-state trail access for all South Carolinians.
  • “We appreciate the continued support of the Duke Energy Foundation to help us share the wonder of the Foothills Trail with countless visitors each year,” said Heyward Douglass, executive director of the Foothills Trail Conservancy. “This grant will ensure that hikers who come from all over the United States, and all over the world, will have a safe and enjoyable experience on the trail.”
  • “We think it’s important to work alongside our community partners to ensure all of the beautiful places in South Carolina can be enjoyed for years to come,” said Mike Callahan, Duke Energy South Carolina state president. “The organizations these funds support will aid in the protection of the environment and provide communities with much-needed resources to promote good stewardship of the natural beauty around us.”

Duke Energy Foundation

The Duke Energy Foundation provides more than $30 million annually in philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The foundation is funded by Duke Energy shareholders.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business and at least a 50% carbon reduction from electric generation by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The 2050 net-zero goals also include Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2022 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

Media contact: Ryan Mosier