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Duke Energy Foundation announces $1 million in COVID-19 response and education grants in Florida

- $450,000 in COVID-related grants to support bill payments, social services, hunger relief

- $550,000 in education grants include flexibility to be repurposed during pandemic

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., April 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Duke Energy Foundation today announced a $1 million donation to assist Florida communities through COVID-19 initiatives and education grants.

Duke Energy, the nation's largest electric utility, unveils its new logo. (PRNewsFoto/Duke Energy) (PRNewsfoto/Duke Energy)

The company's $450,000 COVID-19-related grants address immediate social service and hunger relief needs resulting from the virus pandemic. Disbursed through 50 organizations, the funds will support more than 2,000 families by helping to pay gas or electric utility bills, and also will support programs that address food needs for all ages, children to seniors.

In addition, the Duke Energy Foundation recently granted $550,000 to 22 Florida-based organizations to support energy, engineering and environmental educational initiatives. Given the COVID-19 crisis, the Foundation has also provided each organization with the option to use the funds to address unforeseen operational challenges.

"These targeted investments, coupled with the actions Duke Energy has taken to help our customers during this challenging time, help fulfill critical community needs – and hopefully lessen the burden – for Floridians experiencing financial hardships during the virus pandemic," said Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida president.

Duke Energy Florida has taken additional steps to support customers during these unprecedented times, including not disconnecting service due to nonpayment and waiving late payment and returned payment fees.

"Heart of Florida United Way and the community it serves is grateful to have a partner like Duke Energy supporting us during this challenging time," said Jeff Hayward, President & CEO of Heart of Florida United Way. "The amount of requests for assistance is unprecedented, and the contribution from Duke Energy will help support many families who are trying to keep their lives together."

The largest COVID-19 response grants include:

  • Citrus County United Way (Citrus County)
  • Heart of Florida United Way (Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties)
  • Lake/Sumter County United Way (Lake and Sumter counties)
  • Marion County United Way (Marion County)
  • Pasco United Way (Pasco County)
  • United Way Suncoast (Pinellas County)
  • Second Harvest Food Bank (Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, Volusia and Brevard Counties)
  • Seniors First Meals on Wheels (Orange County)
  • St. Petersburg Free Clinic (Pinellas County)
  • United Way of Central Florida (Hardee, Highlands and Polk counties)
  • Volusia/Flagler County United Way (Volusia and Flagler counties)

For information on how to access utility bill pay assistance, visit the Duke Energy website with nonprofit organization contact information listed by county. Utility bill pay assistance is not limited to Duke Energy bills. To learn more about Duke Energy's response to the COVID-19 virus, please visit the company webpage.

Duke Energy Florida

Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, owns a diverse generation mix of natural gas, coal and renewables, providing about 10,200 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.8 million customers in a 13,000-square-mile service area.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.

Duke Energy is transforming its customers' experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit's regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune's 2019 "World's Most Admired Companies" list, and Forbes' 2019 "America's Best Employers" list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains 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.    

Contact: Peveeta Persaud
24-Hour: 800.559.3853
Twitter: @DE_PeveetaP

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SOURCE Duke Energy