Editor's note: below is the news release issued by Duke Energy on 9/24

  • Awards eight seed grants across the Carolinas and southern Virginia
  • Invests additional $500,000 in park enhancements in Danville, Va.

CHARLOTTE – Duke Energy today announced the creation of a $10 million Water Resources Fund to benefit waterways across North Carolina and South Carolina.

The fund will also be used to improve waterways downstream from Duke Energy operations that flow into neighboring states.

In addition to the Water Resources Fund, Duke Energy is investing $500,000 in enhancements to the Abreu-Grogan Park in Danville, Va., located on the Dan River.

About the Water Resources Fund

The $10 million fund supports projects and programs that provide direct benefit in at least one of the following focus areas:

  • Improving water quality, quantity and conservation;
  • Enhancing fish and wildlife management habitats;
  • Expanding public use and access to waterways; or
  • Increasing citizens’ awareness about their roles in protecting water resources.

“Our new Water Resources Fund reflects Duke Energy’s commitment to serving our local communities and producing and delivering energy in ways that protect the health of the environment,” said Lynn Good, Duke Energy’s president and CEO. “We are proud to be expanding our support for waterways in the Carolinas and throughout the region, and we look forward to helping local organizations have an even greater impact in protecting and enhancing our natural resources.” 

The $10 million fund also includes $1.5 million for projects specifically in the Dan River Basin Region.  

“Since the accident at our Dan River site, we’ve worked hard to strengthen our operations and to make things right – fixing the leak, cleaning the river and making sure the water quality remains safe. We have a long history of protecting the environment and doing the right thing for the customers and communities we serve. Our ongoing work and support of the Water Resources Fund are demonstrations of our commitment,” Good added.

Projects in this region can benefit waterways directly, or they can help develop the economic and community vitality of the Dan River Basin Region.

How the Water Resources Fund works

The Duke Energy Foundation is seeking nonprofit and local government partners with relevant projects to apply to the fund. Interested organizations should visit the Water Resources Fund page on the Duke Energy site for additional information.

The North Carolina Community Foundation will serve as the fund administrator and will distribute funds to approved projects in the five eligible states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee.

Funding decisions will be made by the Water Resources Fund committee that represents both Duke Energy and external environmental experts:

  • Dr. Jeff Allen, director, S.C. Water Resources Center, Clemson University; former president, National Institutes for Water Resources; former interim director, Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs
  • Cari Boyce, vice president, Environmental and Energy Policy, Duke Energy
  • Barry Gullet, director, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities
  • Steve Jester, vice president, Water Strategy, Hydro Licensing and Lake Services, Duke Energy
  • Dr. Elizabeth (Bunny) Johns, owner, BunRab Enterprises; past president and CEO, Nantahala Outdoor Center
  • Dr. Ken Reckhow, professor emeritus, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
  • Dr. Ann M. Stoeckmann, professor and department chair, Biology, Francis Marion University

Water Resources Fund seed grantees

The company also announced eight Water Resources Fund seed grantees that represent the types of projects the fund is soliciting:

  • Beautiful Places Alliance (South Carolina) – $20,000 to provide new educational exhibits and signage for educational programs at Upstate parks that are part of the Saluda-Reedy River Watershed.
  • Catawba Lands Conservancy (Mecklenburg County, N.C.) – $50,000 to provide funding for conservation projects along Waxhaw Creek, which serves as a habitat for the federally endangered Carolina heelsplitter, a species of freshwater mussel.
  • City of Asheville (Buncombe County, N.C.) – $45,000 to install environmental kiosks on the Town Branch Greenway. The kiosks will provide environmental education around the importance of water and open space. The series of kiosks will tell the environmental story of the area as the greenway progresses to the French Broad River. The kiosks will be designed by local artists and administered by the local art community. 
  • Clemson University (South Carolina) – $15,000 to sponsor a graduate-level course for K-12 teachers that explores the interrelationships of energy production, water and the environment. This course is taught by Clemson University faculty members, a S.C. Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist and Duke Energy scientists.
  • North Carolina Coastal Land Trust (Onslow County, N.C.) – $60,000 to fund two projects that will transform 450 acres into safe, user-friendly nature preserves.
  • River Bank Fund (Dan River Basin Region) – $250,000 to address water quality, encourage new development, improve cleanliness, increase access and promote the Dan River to build regional pride and encourage tourism.
  • Rockingham County Community Foundation (Dan River Basin Region, Rockingham County, N.C.) – $250,000 grant to support environmental and economic development projects in the Dan River Basin Region of North Carolina. [NCCF note: The Rockingham County Community Foundation is an affiliate of NCCF.]
  • University of North Carolina Wilmington (North Carolina) – $75,000 to provide underserved middle school students with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experiential learning opportunities through one of UNCW's Watson College of Education's outreach programs that promises to engage them with aquatic life. Aligned with the North Carolina Essential Standards for Science, this program uses hands-on, inquiry-based lessons, labs and field experiences to engage students with water monitoring, exploration and conservation.

The Water Resources Fund allows these grantees to build upon their histories of collaborative environmental work.

“Duke Energy has been a reliable partner for many years,” said Camilla Herlevich, executive director, North Carolina Coastal Land Trust. “This grant will expand access to two wonderful pieces of land and work to develop them into true nature preserves that will serve thousands of visitors each year.”

“We’re grateful to be part of this new opportunity,” said Amy Duffy, president, Beautiful Places Alliance. “This investment will help develop our educational outreach programs and increase the visibility of the Saluda-Reedy River Watershed. Duke Energy is investing in the long-term sustainability of the watershed.”

Park enhancements in Danville, Va.

In addition to the Water Resources Fund, Duke Energy is investing $500,000 for enhancements to the Abreu-Grogan Park in Danville, Va.

“This park served as a home-base for some of our coal ash cleanup efforts along the Dan River, and this investment makes good on our promise to the citizens of Danville to leave the park in better shape than before our work began,” said Paul Newton, Duke Energy state president – North Carolina.

Over the next year, Duke Energy will improve boating and fishing facilities in the park and construct new bathrooms, walkways, parking and access areas.

About Duke Energy

Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States with approximately $115 billion in total assets. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.2 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. Its commercial power and international energy business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.

The Duke Energy Foundation actively works to improve the quality of life in its communities, lending expertise in the form of leadership and philanthropic support to charitable organizations. Duke Energy has long been committed to building and supporting the communities in which its customers and employees live and work. More information is available at duke-energy.com/foundation.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com.


Editor's note: photographed on the home page are members of the Rockingham County Community Foundation board at last week's River Fest celebration there: (L-R) Micky Silver, Peggy Gammon, Fred Timper, Marty Melvin and Tommy Flynt.  Davis Montgomery, Duke-Energy regional manager, presents the check.

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