Duke Energy provides $750,000 in grants across North Carolina for small-business revitalization

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  • Hometown Revitalization grants provide $25,000 in funding for 30 local microgrant programs.

  • Grant funding and reach increased by 50% to help more communities recover from the pandemic.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Duke Energy Foundation today distributed $750,000 in grants to help local businesses across North Carolina – from restaurants to retailers – adapt to the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic.

The total represents a 50% increase over the $500,000 in funding announced in April due to the breadth and quality of the funding applications. As a result, the Hometown Revitalization grant program will now support 30 communities throughout the state rather than the original 20 planned at the program’s inception.

“After our success in supporting the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, which was the model for this program, we knew that a series of targeted grants could do wonders to help North Carolina businesses and storefronts recover,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “We were astounded by the number and quality of the applications, so we decided to increase the foundation’s commitment and help even more downtown communities bounce back.”

The Hometown Revitalization grants were awarded to the following 30 community organizations – quotes from each on the impact of the grants can be found here:

Organization County
  Alexander County Economic Development Corp.
  Clayton Chamber Foundation
  Coalicion Latinoamericana
  Davie Community Foundation
  Downtown Washington on the Waterfront
  Downtown North Wilkesboro Partnership
  Downtown Southport
  Eden Downtown Development
  Friends of Downtown Hendersonville
  Fuquay-Varina Downtown Association
  Gibsonville Garden Railroad
  Graham Revitalization Economic Action Team (Great)
  Jones County Committee of 100
  Laurinburg Downtown Advisory Committee
  Lincoln Economic Development Association
  Mitchell County Development Foundation
  Nantahala Health Foundation
  Polk County Chamber Foundation
  Pride of Kinston
  Reidsville Downtown Corp.
  Renaissance Downtown Durham
  Rutherford Town Revitalization
  Salisbury Community Development Corp.
  Sanford-Lee County Partnership for Prosperity Foundation
  Surry County Economic Development Foundation
  United Way of Richmond County
  Uptown Roxboro Group
  Wallace Revitalization Association
  Wilmington Downtown
  Working Landscapes
New Hanover

Each community was awarded $25,000 through a partnership with these local 501(c)(3)-administering nonprofits. The administering entity will establish a small-business support microgrant program to deploy the funding within their local community. Microgrants may range from $500 to $2,500 per individual business.

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. The grants allowed the establishments the opportunity to create outdoor seating and serving opportunities, develop e-commerce websites, repair window fronts, and upgrade health and safety elements.

Nicole Thompson, president and CEO of Downtown Durham, anticipates a similar impact in her community.

"Downtown Durham small businesses have weathered an extremely challenging few years, from an explosion that damaged multiple businesses in the Brightleaf District to the economic devastation brought on by the pandemic,” she said. “The Duke Energy Hometown Revitalization Grant program will provide vital support and help to strengthen these small businesses as they recover, rebound and reinvent to succeed in this new economy.”

In Charlotte, the strongest application was put forth by the Latin American Coalition.

“Here in Charlotte, many Latino small businesses were started by immigrants or the children of immigrants,” said Jose Hernandez-Paris, executive director of the Coalition. “They are hard-working folks who need help recovering from the effect of the pandemic. The Hometown Revitalization Grant from Duke Energy will provide small-business owners a lifeline to stabilizing their business as we continue to recover. We are grateful for the support from Duke Energy and their commitment to our community, our families and to our small businesses.”

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 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 can be found at duke-energy.com/foundation.

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 7.9 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 51,000 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 27,500 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy strategy to create a smarter energy future for its customers and communities – with goals of at least a 50 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company is a top U.S. renewable energy provider, on track to own or purchase 16,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025. The company also is investing in major electric grid upgrades and expanded battery storage, and exploring zero-emitting power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2021 “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: Bill Norton