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Duke awards promote diversity and inclusion

Special to the Star

The Duke Energy Foundation is powering Florida communities with nearly $260,000 in grants to fund accessibility to the arts, promote diversity and inclusion, and address storm preparedness and COVID-19 challenges.

“Giving back to communities where we live and work is fundamental to who we are at Duke Energy,” said Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida president. “These grants will support 19 nonprofits that are critical to the vitality of the communities we serve and will help them continue to deliver important services during a pandemic that is reshaping all of our daily lives.”

Receiving a $19,000 award is Forgotten Coast en Plein Air 2021, to support artist residencies in the Forgotten Coast to explore a community issue or challenge.

The Duke Energy Foundation is powering Florida communities with nearly $260,000 in grants to fund community groups to promote diversity and inclusion and social justice.

Also receiving monies in the area will be $10,000 to Apalachicola Main Street, to develop educational programming that chronicles the life and legacy of abolitionist, author and lecturer Moses Roper. Another $5,000 will be given to the Hillside Coalition of Laborers for Apalachicola (H’COLA), to support educational materials for the African-American History Festival, held each year in mid-February.

The Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce is slated to receive $10,000 to assist 40 women- and minority-owned businesses with business continuity planning workshops, with $5,000 targeted to the Tallahassee-Leon County Cultural Resources Commission, for the Council on Culture and Arts.

The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Greater Gainesville Coalition for Change will be given $10,000 to increase equity in the business community, and the Ocala Marion County Chamber of Economic Partnership is set to receive $5,000 to provide direct technical assistance to businesses in Ocala’s majority-minority communities.

Among this year’s statewide recipients is $50,000 to Prospera, an economic development organization offering bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs trying to establish or expand their business. Based in Orlando, Prospera provides Hispanic entrepreneurs with training, support and resources to help their businesses grow and prosper. This money is targeted to help these businesses achieve greater disaster preparedness and resiliency, and reopen or recover more quickly from the impacts of COVID-19.

In the Tampa Bay area, $15,000 awards are going to the Clearwater Jazz Holiday’s afterschool program in economically challenged communities; to the Holocaust Museum to support free virtual lessons to schoolchildren to promote civility and embracing differences between people; and to the John Morroni Legacy Foundation to support a first responder mental health initiative.

In the Greater Orlando area, support is being given to the Council on Aging of Volusia County for hurricane preparedness kits for seniors; to the Museum of Art in Deland for classroom arts collaboration program in Title I schools; to the Orlando Ballet for free lessons for underserved children; to the Orlando Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts; to the Polk Ecumenical Action Council for Empowerment to address affordable housing; to United Arts of Central Florida to address the underrepresentation of people of color in the arts in Central Florida; and to the Seminole County Schools Foundation and Volusia Schools FUTURES Foundation to provide digital tools for their Take Stock in Children programs.

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The foundation contributes more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts and is funded by Duke Energy shareholder dollars.

More information about the foundation and its Powerful Communities program can be found at duke-energy.com/foundation.