Thursday, 30 September 2021 16:24

Duke Energy Foundation awards $25,000 to help small businesses in Richmond County

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From left: Bob Young, chair of the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce; Michelle Parrish, executive director of United Way of Richmond County, and David McNeill, district manager with Duke Energy. From left: Bob Young, chair of the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce; Michelle Parrish, executive director of United Way of Richmond County, and David McNeill, district manager with Duke Energy. Contributed photo

ROCKINGHAM — The United Way of Richmond County recently received a $25,000 grant from Duke Energy to help local businesses.


The Duke Energy Foundation this week doled out $750,000 to 30 organizations across the state to help restaurants and other retailers “adapt to the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic,” according to a press release.

The Foundation had announced in April that it would be awarding $500,000 to 20 organizations through its Hometown Revitalization grant program.

“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,” Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president, said in a press release. “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.”

According to Duke, the funding for the capital city “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.”

UWRC Executive Director Michelle Parrish said the grant is a partnership between her organization and the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce.

“After the most challenging 18 months our small business have experienced, the Duke Energy Hometown Revitalization Grant program provides important relief for business owners bounding back from the strain of the pandemic and looking to stabilize and grow their business into the next chamber,” Parrish said.

A government-imposed shutdown in 2020 led to the temporary closure of several businesses in Richmond County and across the state, including restaurants, gyms, bars and hair salons.

Supply chain and employment issues have also plagued these small businesses.

Parrish said more information would be coming in the next few weeks regarding how businesses can apply for grants.

According to Duke, the microgrants can range from $500 to $2,500 per business.

Other regional organizations that received similar grants include the Laurinburg Downtown Advisory Committee and the Sanford-Lee County Partnership for Prosperity Foundation.