Education initiatives boosted by $500K in grants from Duke Energy

UPSTATE — Duke Energy has been powering South Carolina for more than a century, and continues to power the minds of its students by investing in innovative education programs and initiatives across the state.

Through the Duke Energy Foundation, $500,000 in grants will go to initiatives across the state that emphasize science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as programs that increase childhood reading proficiency.

“Supporting effective education programs that focus on fields related to science and technology are a critical focus for our company,” said Clark Gillespy, Duke Energy’s South Carolina president. “These initiatives will help strengthen the pipeline of highly skilled workers that fuel the economic engines that drive South Carolina.”

Duke Energy’s education grants this year include from Pickens County:

Clemson University Women in Science/Programs for Educational Enrichment and Retention (PEER): To provide continued support to programs that provide camps for minority engineering majors, and to provide camps, encouragement and support to women pursuing careers in science and math.

School District of Pickens County: To provide literacy teacher training for all kindergarten through 5th grade teachers.

United Way of Pickens County: To expand the successful “Camp iRock” summer literacy program countywide.

Upcountry History Museum: To support literacy development through the Upcountry History Museum Book Club.

“Camp iRock is an innovative educational program in Pickens County that addresses summer literacy loss in students advancing to second, third and fourth grades,” said Julie Capaldi, president of the United Way of Pickens County. “More than 200 struggling readers will experience intensive literacy instruction from highly qualified teachers in a fun camp atmosphere this summer thanks to Duke Energy.”

In addition to these grants, Duke Energy and Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the nation’s largest children’s literacy organization, recently announced a partnership to minimize the summer slide and improve the reading proficiency of more than 3,000 current second graders in South Carolina. The $400,000 program will be available in 36 Title I elementary schools in the Pee Dee region in northeast South Carolina.

The grants are administered through the Duke Energy Foundation, which provides philanthropic support to address the needs vital to the health of its communities, with a focus on education, environment, economic and workforce development and community impact.