The pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for small businesses across North Carolina. In order to support community needs, the Duke Energy Foundation has announced $500,000 in funding to help local businesses – from restaurants to retailers – pivot to accommodate the changing environment through the Hometown Revitalization Grant Program.
“Small businesses are the heart of our communities, and they care for the needs of citizens across the state – including our customers and employees,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “These grants will help businesses and storefronts in North Carolina recover from a difficult year and help position them for a more prosperous future.”
Hometown Revitalization grants will be awarded in 20 communities across the state. Each community will be awarded $25,000 through a partnership with a local 501c3-administering nonprofit. The administering nonprofit will establish a small business support microgrant program to deploy the funding to their local small business community. Microgrants may range from $500 to $2,500 per individual business.
The grant application is open now through May 31 and is available at duke-energy.com/hometown. Grant decisions will be announced in August.
The Hometown Revitalization Grant Program is inspired by a recent collaboration with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Duke Energy that provided nearly 100 grants to downtown Raleigh storefronts. The grants allowed these establishments the opportunity to create outdoor seating and serving opportunities, develop e-commerce websites, repair window fronts, and upgrade health and safety elements.
“Receiving a grant from the Duke Energy Foundation through the Downtown Raleigh Alliance gave us the opportunity – and budget – to run a highly focused marketing campaign during the holiday season centered around customized gift boxes,” shared Emily Grey, owner of The Flourish Market in Downtown Raleigh. “This was a creative idea we knew would excite our customers and help sustain our business, but because of the pandemic, we did not have the needed start-up capital for the launch.”
Grey added, “What was most meaningful about being a grant recipient is that my fellow business owners in the streets around me also received grants. I’m grateful that Duke Energy’s approach is to build up communities, and their team has been a great example to me of what it looks like to be a good steward of my resources.”