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Duke foundation puts $200,000 in grants toward S.C. equality programs

Staff Report //August 14, 2020//

Duke foundation puts $200,000 in grants toward S.C. equality programs

Staff Report //August 14, 2020//

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The Duke Energy Foundation announced the recipients of $200,000 in employee-directed grants to nonprofit organizations in South Carolina committed to social justice and racial equity.

Grants will be distributed to 18 organizations (.pdf) across state. Overall, the company made a $1 million commitment in June in the seven states where it has electric and gas customers, according to a news release.

Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas tapped Advocates for African Americans, a company employee-led resource group, as well as other diversity and inclusion councils to help identify and determine which organizations in each state should be considered to receive support.

“To say I enjoyed being a part of the process of steering funds to organizations that are making such a positive impact on our communities would be an understatement,” Tiger Wells said in the news release. He is Duke Energy’s state government affairs director in South Carolina and a member of the diversity and inclusion committee of employees who made grant decisions.

“I’m proud of the company’s response and actions we are taking both internally and externally to be a driver for change,” he said in the release.

Organizations receiving support include Big Brothers Big Sisters Upstate.

“We are so appreciative of this grant, especially with the uncertainty and challenges we all are dealing with daily,” Charlene Cheeks, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Upstate. “However, we must take every opportunity to denounce racism, bigotry and prejudice. Defending potential means we openly and consistently address the systemic barriers our children of color face. Racism is part of the trauma in many young lives. We must name it and act upon it every single day.”

Duke Energy is also strengthening its internal diversity and inclusion programs to foster greater awareness, respect and inclusion, the release said.

In addition to these grants, employees can support local organizations through the Duke Energy Foundation’s matching grant program, Dollars4Good, as well as its Hours4Good program, which enables employees to earn grants for volunteer hours logged, according to the release.