Duke Energy announced the recipients of $375,000 in grants through the Duke Energy Foundation to South Carolina organizations that will fund tutoring and reading programs in underserved and minority communities to combat learning gaps created by the pandemic.
The funds will also support environmental education programs for Title 1 schools and culturally relevant professional development, particularly as it pertains to racial equity in education.
The grants were awarded to 46 organizations across South Carolina.
“As the effects of the pandemic on our students and learning environments continue, after-school tutoring programs have become critical in addressing some of these learning gaps, and existing programs have been burdened to continue providing these valuable services,” said Mike Callahan, Duke Energy’s South Carolina president. “Both of my parents were public school teachers, so I’m personally proud that Duke Energy is continuing to support the education efforts of our teachers and students by supporting these critical organizations as they help curb learning gaps and other challenges presented by the pandemic.”
This summer, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee will use grant funding to offer K-3 students the Raz-Plus Reading Program, a curriculum that seeks to improve vocabulary, language fluency and reading comprehension among participants.
“Boys & Girls Clubs remain committed to the social and emotional well-being of its members and aiding them on their academic journey,” said Neal L. Zimmerman, Jr., executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee. “This generous grant will help us continue our focus of improving members’ education this summer through the implementation of a proven reading curriculum taught by qualified instructors. This will help many members overcome the reading loss that has occurred during the pandemic.”
In addition to addressing the challenges presented by COVID-19, many of these grants help create or sustain programs that address the needs for social justice and racial equity in the K-12 education space.
One such program being offered by Public Education Partners aims to provide professional development to more than 800 teachers in the Greenville County School District around understanding cultural, race and ethnic differences among students and teaching methods to address these sensitivities with positive outcomes.
“Classrooms are among the first places that children learn how to be in community with each other and navigate differences,” said Catherine Schumacher, president and CEO of Public Education Partners. “Having empathetic teachers in the classroom who have taken the time to deepen their knowledge about racial equity will help vulnerable children. When we serve vulnerable children well, we serve all children better. We are grateful to the Duke Energy Foundation for its investment in this work.”
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.
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 29,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities and 2,300 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.