How COVID-19 is Shaping Philanthropic Giving at Duke Energy
Duke Energy has been a long time supporter of DO GOOD Week and their unwavering commitment to our nonprofit community doesn’t end there, not even close. Curious how COVID-19 and the past year has impacted Duke Energy’s philanthropic giving? Read this quick Q&A to learn more about their current focus areas, what employee engagement looks like these days, and just how much they have invested in COVID relief efforts.
The pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives. How has Duke Energy supported its customers, communities and employees?
As we look at the last 13 plus months, many across our communities have, and continue to face, unprecedented financial and emotional hardships as a result of the pandemic. To support our customers, communities and employees, our initial giving focused on hunger relief, like meals for seniors, children and families affected by school closings, educational initiatives and support for local health and human services organizations.
Our giving has evolved to include public utility assistance across our service territory, feeding and supporting our critical healthcare workers in the Midwest and small business customer support. We also continue to support employees, through the Relief4Employees program.
To date, Duke Energy and the Duke Energy Foundation have provided more than $8 million dollars in COVID-19 relief. We know the needs are great for many and we continue to look for ways we can support our customers, communities and employees.
What are Duke Energy's philanthropic areas of focus in 2021?
COVID-19 and the events of 2020 highlighted the increasingly important role our company plays in society as an essential service provider. Last year a key focus of our support was on providing pandemic relief and racial equity. And, we continue to make diversity, equity and inclusion a focus of our philanthropic giving in 2021. We’re building on our more than $2 million in support of social justice and racial equity initiatives in 2020 with a new, three-year grant cycle in North Carolina to support social justice and racial equity organizations. We are also supporting vaccine outreach and education in our jurisdictions by partnering with organizations like RIDE UNITED NC.
Duke Energy has a strong employee volunteerism culture. How have you pivoted to continue this culture while most in-person events have been cancelled?
Employee volunteerism is an integral part of our commitment to the communities where we live and serve. Last year, despite the pandemic, our employees served more than 70,000 volunteer hours, mainly through virtual events. Through our signature volunteerism initiative, Illuminating Kindness, employees (and their families) participated in a variety of virtual opportunities like creating storm kits, writing cards for first responders and helping food banks stay stocked. In recognition for these acts of kindness, the company donated $50,000 toward customer assistance in honor of our employee volunteers.
Our employees also found incredible, innovative ways to volunteer. For example, in Nashville, employee Tami Sturges had an idea that would help young adults find affordable housing.
What is one thing you would like Charlotte to know about Duke Energy that they may not know?
As we build resiliency in a post-pandemic world, we are excited about the opportunity the utility industry has in providing life essential clean, reliable and affordable energy for our communities. We are on a path to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and want to do this in a way that also lifts society. We want to have a seat at the table to help address the issues of climate change and resiliency and to do so in a way that benefits our communities.
Thank you Duke Energy for your generosity and support of our community.