Duke Energy announced Monday it would contribute $1 million to nonprofit organizations committed to social justice and racial equity.
The utility company said it’s relying on its employees to identify worthy organizations across its operating area, which includes Florida as well as North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
The commitment comes as protests against police brutality, particularly against black men, continue in cities across the country following the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
“The heartbreaking loss of George Floyd’s life and the powerful response to it are excruciating reminders of the progress we still need to make in our communities. We must be part of systemic solutions so we emerge as a community where everyone is treated as full and equal partners in our society,” said Lynn Good, Duke Energy’s president and CEO.
“We’re drawing on our greatest resource — our employees — to help identify organizations that are working to address social and racial justice issues at the grassroots level, which will amplify the impact.”
In addition to the grant funding, Duke Energy said it employees can also direct funds to local organizations through Dollars4Good, a matching grant program, and Hours4Good, which allows employees to earn grants for volunteer hours logged.
The racial equity grant funding comes on the tail of another seven-figure commitment.
In April, Duke announced it would direct $1 million toward COVID-19 response grants in communities across Florida.
Duke said $450,000 of the total would support bill payments, social services and hunger relief programs for Florida families affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The money will be put to use by 50 organizations and will help more than 2,000 families pay utility bills, and also will support programs that address food needs for all ages.
Duke Energy had previously announced that it would not cut off power to customers who cannot afford to pay their utility bills during the pandemic.