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Investment Priorities

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

We fund projects that support Duke Energys 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) is a critical focus for Duke Energy. Aspiring engineers and scientists require critical reading skills, which is also an important predictor of school success and high school graduation. We strongly believe that bright futures begin in the classroom and that every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.

The Duke Energy Foundation is interested in investing in high-performing, sustainable programs and initiatives that contribute to our goal of building a diverse workforce of the future. Key examples include:

  • Creating greater access to and participation in STEM-related informal education opportunities (out-of-school-time).
  • Building STEM knowledge and skills in schools by encouraging innovation and supporting proven programs.
  • Achieving a sufficient supply of well-prepared STEM teachers.
  • Supporting reading initiatives to ensure students are on track to read at grade level by the end of the third grade.
  • Closing the gap in reading achievement that separates many low-income students from their peers.

Application period
January February

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Economic and Workforce Development

Duke Energy is committed to strengthening communities and enhancing the quality of life of the people we serve. We are interested in attracting job-creating industry and capital investment to our service territories.

The Duke Energy Foundation provides support to initiatives that enhance community and state development strategies and marketing efforts. Key examples include:

  • Partnering with state, regional and local economic development partnerships, chambers and higher education institutions to:
    • Identify new opportunities for growth
    • Support feasibility studies and/or actions to support a region in defining its capability to attract industry
    • Invest in planning and research to define a region's marketable assets

We recognize that workforce development and economic development go hand in hand. As part of our commitment to attracting and retaining businesses within our service territories, Duke Energy provides funding to workforce development initiatives to help provide a next generation workforce in key cluster areas. These initiatives advance economic development and increase employment opportunities thereby providing a highly qualified workforce. Key examples include:

  • Increasing capacity for the regional workforce through higher education and job readiness and skills training programs.
    • Invest in programs focused on training for manufacturing or for sectors aligned with Duke Energy's economic focus areas
    • Invest in programs focused on re-training and/or re-tooling the workforce
    • Support programs that recruit, train and prepare energy workers for the energy industry
  • Preparing students for the 21st century economy through college and career readiness programs.
    • Strengthen the transition from high school to college and/or to the workforce
    • Provide access to post-secondary education for under-represented minority and low-income populations, as well as first-generation college students

Application period
August September

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As the largest U.S. electric utility, Duke Energy has the strength and the responsibility to make a positive difference for our customers, communities and the future we share. It's an important balancing act that drives us to provide affordable, reliable and increasingly clean energy.

Duke Energy is committed to environmental stewardship and supporting environment and wildlife programs that protect, improve or restore natural resources, especially water and air. Key examples include:

  • Land and wildlife habitat conservation efforts
  • Protection of water quality and water-related resources
  • Protection of air quality
  • Protection of endangered or threatened species

We have a long history of partnering with organizations to promote environmental education. And we are committed to engaging the next generation of volunteers and environmental education activities to:

  • Increase awareness, knowledge and understanding of environmental challenges
  • Provide programs that develop a deeper understanding of environmental issues through first-hand learning activities

We also provide funding for initiatives that are aligned with regional priorities in our service territories.

Emerging Energy Technologies
To advance research in emerging energy technology that promotes clean and reliable energy generation and use, Duke Energy also supports university research and collaboration with industrywide benefits that align with our corporate strategy.

Application period
July August

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Community Impact and Cultural Enrichment

Duke Energy is proud to be part of the communities we serve. And giving back is one way we help build strong communities.

Employee and retiree involvement have been a hallmark of Duke Energy for more than 100 years. Many times working under the banner "Duke Energy In Action," they volunteer for projects large and small throughout the year. Whether participating in a local Big Sweep or sorting school supplies for students, volunteerism is wired into our company's DNA. We support employee giving through matching gifts for employee and retiree donations to qualifying nonprofit organizations, our Duke Energy United Way and community arts campaigns, and through grants to support employee and retiree volunteer efforts. Duke Energy holds an enterprise-wide United Way campaign annually, and through our support, the United Way is able to tackle the broader issues of health and human services the building blocks of strong communities.

Our energy assistance programs help those in need to cope with extreme heat and cold. And when hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters strike, The Duke Energy Foundation works with organizations such as the United Way and the American Red Cross to provide relief in the areas where Duke Energy operates. The company works directly with beneficiary agencies and does not accept grant applications for its energy assistance or disaster relief programs.

We also make a limited amount of grants to nonprofit organizations and invest in philanthropic programs that provide access to and encourage an appreciation of the arts and culture powerful tools that connect people and help economies thrive. In addition, we support capacity building initiatives that strengthen the nonprofit community. This may include pilot trainings or professional development programs to build capabilities, knowledge and skills to help nonprofits fulfill their missions.

Application period
April May

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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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