Duke Energy pledges $150,000 to support women-, veteran- and minority-owned small businesses impacted by pandemic in greater Cincinnati area

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CINCINNATI – Duke Energy, through its foundation, is partnering with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and the Northern Kentucky Chamber to provide financial assistance to local women-, veteran- and minority-owned small businesses impacted by the coronavirus.

Each chamber will receive $75,000 from Duke Energy to be distributed to qualified small businesses.

“We’ve continued to hear from our small business customers that they are having the hardest time trying to get funding to not only stay afloat, but to keep their doors open,” said Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. “This is a way for us to have a direct impact on a critical customer segment.”

Both chambers will work with members to identify opportunities and direct grants to  local small businesses. The relief grants can be up to $10,000 for a Duke Energy small business customer. Those receiving grants should receive their funds next month.

“The Cincinnati Regional Chamber has a long history in assisting minority- and female-owned businesses. And, certainly, this crisis is no exception. We are proud to be able to leverage our expertise and help Duke Energy award grants to these businesses that need the assistance to not only keep their businesses intact, but their livelihoods and families as well,” said Jill Meyer, president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

The chambers will market the grant dollars to both members and non-members and solicit businesses with less than $1 million in annual revenues.

Leisa Mulcahy, managing director of GROW NKY and vice president of Workforce at the NKY Chamber, says the grant will work to help an often underserved segment of the business community at a time when assistance is needed the most.

“As we continue to move forward with the reopening of the economy, it is important we make sure we are providing resources for all the businesses we support – especially those that run the risk of being underserved,” said Mulcahy. “With this generous support of the Duke Energy Foundation, this grant will ensure that every partner in our business community will have an opportunity to survive and thrive.”

For information on how to apply for funds through the Northern Kentucky Chamber, click here.

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber will launch its program on June 23 and details will be available at www.cincinnatichamber.com/DukeFund.

Details on the grant funding

Qualified costs for relief fund recipients include payroll support, paid sick or medical leave, insurance premiums, mortgage payments, and any other debt obligations. Recipients may also use funds toward legal or technical assistance for small businesses in navigating  new federal and state programs.

Customers may not use the relief funds to pay for their Duke Energy utility bill.

Duke Energy Foundation

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The foundation contributes more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts, and is funded by Duke Energy shareholder dollars. More information about the foundation and its Powerful Communities program can be found at duke-energy.com/foundation.

Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky

Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides electric service to about 860,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in a 3,000-square-mile service area, and natural gas service to approximately 538,000 customers.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2020 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

Media contact: Sally Thelen