Duke Energy provides $500,000 in grants for small businesses to support vibrant downtowns across North Carolina

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  • Hometown Revitalization grants provide $25,000 in funding for 20 local microgrant programs statewide

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Duke Energy Foundation today distributed $500,000 in grants to help small businesses across North Carolina – from restaurants to retailers – continue their ongoing recovery from economic challenges initially triggered by the pandemic. This is the second year Duke Energy has provided targeted grants in support of downtowns throughout the state.

Today’s $25,000 grants were awarded to 20 nonprofits, each representing one community. That organization will establish a small-business support microgrant program and deploy the funding within their local community by January 2023. The microgrants may range from $500 to $2,500 per individual business.

“Local storefronts and businesses are the heartbeat of towns across our service territory,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “Last year’s inaugural Hometown Revitalization grants showed us the difference that strategic grants can make for towns throughout North Carolina. We’re honored to partner with local nonprofits and businesses to help build more vibrant communities.”

The Hometown Revitalization grants were awarded to the following 20 community organizations – quotes from each on the impact of the grants can be found here.

Organization                                                                                    County

  • Asheboro/Randolph Chamber                                                Randolph
  • Carthage Century Committee Inc.                                          Moore
  • Cool Spring Downtown District                                               Cumberland
  • Davidson County Community College Foundation Inc.          Davidson
  • Downtown Belmont Development Association Inc.                Gaston
  • Downtown Dunn Development Corp.                                     Harnett
  • Downtown Morehead City Inc.                                               Carteret
  • Downtown Salisbury Inc.                                                        Rowan
  • Downtown Winston-Salem Foundation Inc.                           Forsyth
  • Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People Inc.         Durham
  • Gateway Community Development Corp.                              Vance
  • Heart of Brevard                                                                     Transylvania
  • Historic Marion Foundation                                                     McDowell
  • Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce                                    Wake
  • Mount Olive Community Development Corp.                         Wayne
  • Nantahala Health Foundation                                                 Jackson
  • Partnership for a Sustainable Community                              Orange
  • Siler City Development Organization                                      Chatham
  • South Brunswick Business Development Committee             Brunswick
  • Weaverville Business Association                                           Buncombe

The Hometown Revitalization grant program was inspired by a successful collaboration between the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Duke Energy that provided nearly 100 grants to downtown Raleigh storefronts. Last year, Duke Energy broadened that impact to small towns and rural communities across the state with its inaugural Hometown Revitalization grants. The grants allowed downtown storefronts the opportunity to create outdoor seating and serving opportunities, develop e-commerce websites, repair window fronts, and upgrade health and safety elements.

Aaron Nelson, president and CEO of The Chamber For a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro and executive director of the Partnership for a Sustainable Community, hopes to see a similar impact in his community.

“Many small businesses in downtown Chapel Hill and Carrboro are still hurting,” said Nelson. “The Duke Energy Foundation Hometown Revitalization grant program will enable our local businesses to brighten their storefronts, boost their workforce and expand their capacity, and all of this will attract more visitors and help our community thrive.”

Tony Holloway, board chair of Downtown Morehead City Inc., shared more perspective on the hurdles the grant will help his community overcome.

“This generous investment in our downtown will benefit and strengthen our small businesses whose owners have faced several years of difficult challenges – from hurricanes to the pandemic, and the impact left by both,” said Holloway.

Lori Bailey, executive director of the Nantahala Health Foundation, says the grants are timely for Dillsboro.

“Coming on the heels of the challenges of the past two years, this is the perfect time to invest in this historic gem of a town,” said Bailey. “As an organization focused on improving health outcomes, we understand that strengthening the places we live, learn, work and play will ultimately enhance well-being for all. We are pleased to partner with Duke Energy Foundation and the Town of Dillsboro to facilitate revitalization efforts for the small businesses that contribute to the town’s vitality, and we are excited to see how the projects positively impact the downtown area and ultimately Refresh Dillsboro.”

Small businesses interested in learning about how the program will be rolled out in their communities should inquire with the local nonprofit administering the microgrants.

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.

Contact: Emily Kissee
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