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Investment Priorities

Investment Priorities

The Duke Energy Foundation’s philanthropic investment priorities and grant cycles have changed. For more information, see this fact sheet. Our website will reflect the changes in late September. Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at

The Duke Energy Foundation powers vibrant communities in the regions we serve by focusing on four investment priorities. 

We fund projects that support Duke Energy’s core initiatives in the following areas:

Education – STEM and Early Childhood Literacy

Supporting effective education programs and initiatives that emphasize science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as programs that increase childhood reading proficiency, is a critical focus for Duke Energy.

Programs that foster a growing interest in the STEM fields and/or enhance childhood literacy help our communities continue to grow and produce skilled workers who bring new ideas and innovations to our lives. Our children are the future leaders of our communities, and it is imperative that we contribute to their success.

Application Period
Jan. 1  – Feb. 29

About our Funding
The Duke Energy Foundation invests in high-performing, sustainable programs and initiatives that contribute to our goal of helping build a diverse workforce of the future. Examples of programs we fund include:


Read Charlotte logo

Read Charlotte (North Carolina) Duke Energy pledged to support reading proficiency in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools with a $500,000 five-year commitment. The Read Charlotte initiative is a collective impact effort, designed to dramatically improve reading proficiency for students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools by the end of third grade.


Brownburg Community School logo

Brownsburg Community School Corporation (Indiana) Real Men Read brings male community members into the classroom to read to early learners. Duke Energy’s $40,000 grant provided five books to every kindergarten student in the program.



Kidsense logo

KidSenses (North Carolina) With the support of a $25,000 grant from Duke Energy, KidSenses Children’s Museum created “Fantastic Fridays,” a one-year program with free admission and special STEM programming the first Friday of each month in 2015. The program benefits at-risk, low-income and underrepresented families.

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Economic and Workforce Development

As part of our commitment to attracting and retaining businesses within our service territories, Duke Energy provides funding to workforce development initiatives to help prepare the next generation for work in the states where we serve. These initiatives advance economic development and increase employment opportunities, which lead to a highly qualified workforce.

Application Period
Aug. 1  – Sept. 30

About Our Funding
The Duke Energy Foundation invests in programs that help communities define and articulate their economic development strategies and support the development of a skilled workforce. Examples of programs we fund include:


Lake Sumter State College logo

Lake Sumter State College Foundation, Inc. (Florida) Duke Energy’s $85,000 grant helped the college offer scholarships to enroll up to 20 unemployed and/or underemployed individuals into its lineman/electrical distribution technology program.


Center for Great Neighborhoods logo

Center for Great Neighborhoods (Kentucky) With the help of Duke Energy’s $35,000 grant, the Center for Great Neighborhoods renovated a vacant lumber mill into a creative commercial center. The center includes artist/maker’s studios, event space, and new offices.


Community Foundation logo

Hartsville Community Development Foundation (South Carolina) Duke Energy donated $50,000 to help fund a partnership with the Clemson University Technology Village, a technology incubation program designed to support new technology company formation and development in non-metropolitan areas of South Carolina.

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We are dedicated to being good stewards of the environment. Duke Energy supports local programs that help protect and restore wildlife and natural resources, with a special focus on water and air, as well as environmental education programs and programs that support research in emerging energy technologies.

Application period
July 1  – Aug. 31

About Our Funding
The Duke Energy Foundation invests in programs that promote environmental education and programs that protect, improve or restore natural resources. Examples of programs we fund include:

The Duke Energy Foundation invests in programs that promote environmental education and programs that protect, improve or restore natural resources. Examples of programs we fund include:

NC Coastal Trust logo

North Carolina Coastal Land Trust (North Carolina) This $60,000 grant helped the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust prepare two coastal land properties for public access. The land trust enhanced public experience and further developed the nature preserves to serve visitors for years to come.


Cincinnati Museum Center

Cincinnati Museum Center (Ohio) With the help of Duke Energy’s $20,000 grant, the Cincinnati Museum Center was better able to fulfill its goal of engaging the next generation of environmental stewards through environmental education activities, with nearly 6,500 hours of programming a year.


Clearwater Marine Aquarium logo

Clearwater Marine Aquarium (Florida) A $75,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation helped the aquarium expand its efforts to rehabilitate sea turtles that are sick or injured, and also helped protect the endangered and threatened species through education of environmental stewardship.



Please note that the Water Resources Fund has a separate application process.

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Community Impact and Cultural Enrichment

Nonprofit organizations, arts and culture have the power to enhance community vitality. This is why we invest in philanthropic programs and initiatives that provide access to and encourage an appreciation of the arts and culture. In addition, we support capacity-building initiatives that strengthen the nonprofit community through professional development programs and other tools to help nonprofits fulfill their missions.

Application period
Apr. 1  – May 31 

About Our Funding
The Duke Energy Foundation invests in programs that support the arts and culture, as well as programs that strengthen the nonprofit community. Examples of programs we fund include:


Florida Orchestra (Florida) With the help of a $50,000 grant from Duke Energy, the Florida Orchestra expanded its community reach through interactive youth concerts and the launch of Classical Kids, a program that allows youth to receive free tickets to Masterworks series concerts. The program particularly focused on serving youth from underrepresented communities.


NC Center for Nonprofits (North Carolina) The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits received a $40,000 grant to help build the leadership capacity of 150 nonprofit leaders through training.



Francis Marion University Foundation logo

Francis Marion University Foundation (South Carolina)
With the help of a $25,000 grant from Duke Energy, the Francis Marion University Foundation provided opportunities for children in the rural Pee Dee region through a set of culturally enriching, educational programs.



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Local Community Development Grants

We offer local community grants up to $10,000 to grassroots nonprofit organizations whose programs and mission support The Duke Energy Foundation's four investment priorities: education, economic and workforce development, environment and community impact. These are targeted investments designed to meet local community development needs. Applications may be submitted at any time.

Application period

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