ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Jan. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Duke Energy is energizing its Florida communities with more than power. In 2018, the company invested more than $3 million in Sunshine State nonprofit organizations. In addition, company employees volunteered more than 20,000 hours of their time through multiple nonprofit projects.
The grants were awarded by the Duke Energy Foundation, which provides philanthropic support to meet critical community needs through its Powerful Communities program. The program funds community impact initiatives focused on K-12 education, nature, workforce and economic development.
"Philanthropic giving and volunteerism are part of our DNA at Duke Energy and we're proud to support organizations in our backyard," said Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida president. "Our Foundation funds organizations that provide vital services and strengthen our neighborhoods. Simultaneously, Duke Energy Florida employees – in addition to serving our customers daily by providing and restoring critical energy services – also give generously and compassionately by volunteering throughout the year in the same communities in which they work and live."
Florida's 2018 grant recipients included organizations from across the state: United Arts of Central Florida, Franklin's Promise Coalition, Bok Tower Gardens, Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, Orlando Science Center, 29 education foundations supporting schools and dozens of others.
Funded programs provided science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-focused after-school classes for underserved elementary and middle school students; supported access to arts and culture for low-income and underserved communities; and focused on conservation initiatives.
The company also partnered with the Tampa Bay Rays on its Victories for Veterans program for the third consecutive year, donating $90,000 through the Duke Energy Foundation to charities that support veterans across the state.
The Duke Energy Foundation also responded to emergent needs that arose in 2018, including $250,000 to assist communities, customers and neighbors impacted by Hurricane Michael. The funds were distributed through 20 state, regional and city governments and organizations, including Volunteer Florida, Franklin's Promise Coalition, Hillside Laborers, Mexico Beach First Baptist Church, Christian Community Development Funds and Coastal Song Writers.
The foundation also contributed $25,000 to assist displaced families during north Florida's Eastpoint wildfire rebuilding efforts in June.
"Duke Energy's continued funding for United Arts' Diversity Grants and Diversity Initiatives has been hugely impactful in the central Florida cultural sector, making the arts accessible to all in our community," said Flora Maria Garcia, president and CEO of United Arts of Central Florida. "This funding has significantly moved the needle across Lake, Osceola, Orange and Seminole counties by encouraging cultural organizations to create exciting, innovative and culturally diverse programming that appeals to diverse audiences."
While Duke Energy's financial support solidifies its commitment to the communities it serves, Florida employees have also rolled up their sleeves to help their neighbors. Last year, employees volunteered more than 20,000 hours in their communities.
During Duke Energy In Action Month in May 2018, more than 975 Florida employees volunteered over 5,000 hours in 62 events across the state. A wrap-up video is available here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMwcHboEnyQ
About Duke Energy Foundation
The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs of communities where its customers live and work. The Foundation contributes more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts. More information about the Duke Energy Foundation and its Powerful Communities program can be found at duke-energy.com/foundation.
The Duke Energy Foundation is solely funded by Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK) shareholder dollars.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S., with approximately 29,000 employees and a generating capacity of 49,500 megawatts. The company is transforming its customers' experience, modernizing its energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding its natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves.
A Fortune 125 company, Duke Energy was named to Fortune's 2018 "World's Most Admired Companies" list and Forbes' 2018 "America's Best Employers" list.
More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center includes 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.
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SOURCE Duke Energy