Downtown Washington is among Duke Energy grant recipients

Published 1:40 pm Wednesday, September 29, 2021

CHARLOTTE  — The Duke Energy Foundation today distributed $750,000 in grants to help local businesses across North Carolina – from restaurants to retailers – adapt to the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic.

The total represents a 50% increase over the $500,000 in funding announced in April due to the breadth and quality of the funding applications. As a result, the Hometown Revitalization grant program will now support 30 communities throughout the state rather than the original 20 planned at the program’s inception.

“After our success in supporting the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, which was the model for this program, we knew that a series of targeted grants could do wonders to help North Carolina businesses and storefronts recover,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “We were astounded by the number and quality of the applications, so we decided to increase the foundation’s commitment and help even more downtown communities bounce back.”

Downtown Washington on the Waterfront is one of the recipients.  Each community was awarded $25,000 through a partnership with these local 501(c)(3)-administering nonprofits. The administering entity will establish a small-business support microgrant program to deploy the funding within their local community. Microgrants may range from $500 to $2,500 per individual business.

“Washington’s small businesses are the backbone of our community,” Washington Harbor District Alliance Executive Director Meg Howdy said. “They have faced recent challenges with grace, and it will be wonderful to help them recover from the effects of the COVID pandemic and hopefully grow and expand their businesses for the future. Our small businesses have always supported the community and we’re excited to now return the favor with microgrants focused just for them.”

The Hometown Revitalization grant program was inspired by a successful collaboration between the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Duke Energy that provided nearly 100 grants to downtown Raleigh storefronts. The grants allowed the establishments the opportunity to create outdoor seating and serving opportunities, develop e-commerce websites, repair window fronts, and upgrade health and safety elements.