Duke Energy announces $3M in N.C. education grants, including $120,000 to Buncombe County organizations

Duke Energy Foundation has awarded $3,000,000 in grants to N.C.-based educational organizations, including three groups in Buncombe County.

Asheville City Schools Foundation will receive $15,000 to “provide teacher fellowships to engage in professional development in STEM [or, science, technology, engineering and math] topics and implement improved STEM instruction that is inquiry-based and hands-on,” according to a Duke media release.

The same amount will go to Buncombe County Education Foundation to “implement programs that will enable a whole-school transformation model with an emphasis on leadership. There are several leadership programs specific to different grade levels and student character traits.”

Finally, $90,000 will go to Buncombe County Schools to “equip Nesbit Discovery Academy with biology, physics and chemistry labs and complete the Earth Science lab. The grant will also be used to implement the I-3 STEM Pipeline Program.”

The announcement comes amidst controversy surrounding Duke’s proposed Foothills Project and potential developments of a substation near Isaac Dickson Elementary School.

Here is the full release from Duke, including other regional grant recipients:

Students and teachers are getting a back-to-school boost through grants totaling $3 million to more than 50 schools and educational organizations in North Carolina.

The grants, from the Duke Energy Foundation, will enhance programs and initiatives focused on childhood reading proficiency, along with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

“It is essential that our children are well-equipped with the basic skills needed to thrive in the classroom and in life,” said David Fountain, Duke Energy’s incoming North Carolina president. “We’re proud to support these organizations and their efforts to give our students the best chance for success – from kindergarten through high school.”

The Duke Energy Foundation awarded $865,000 to childhood literacy programs aimed at closing the achievement gap and ending the cycle of poverty that often separates low-income students from their peers.

The remaining $2.17 million supports STEM initiatives that provide real-world relevancy and engaging experiences to prepare students to enter math and engineering career fields.

Three recipients include NC New Schools/Breakthrough Learning, Communities In Schools of North Carolina, and Teach for America.

“Duke Energy recognizes that a deep foundation in science and mathematics for all students is essential for our state’s competitive edge,” said Tony Habit, president of NC New Schools/Breakthrough Learning. “We value our partnership with Duke Energy to support our teachers and provide them the resources they need to build their knowledge and skills in delivering high-quality STEM education. The generous investment by Duke Energy over the years represents a promise of a bright future for North Carolina students.”

“Communities In Schools of North Carolina has had a long-standing partnership with public schools all across our state to bring dynamic wraparound services into schools to drive strong student outcomes in attendance, behavior and coursework – the best predictors of student success,” said Dr. Eric Hall, president and CEO of Communities In Schools of North Carolina. “Thanks to a grant from Duke Energy, CISNC is closing the summer reading gap for students living in poverty in Western North Carolina. Also, at the beginning of the school year, we will launch a reading program in Eastern North Carolina using technology to propel reading success in the elementary setting. Together, CISNC and Duke Energy are working to change the picture of education for students all across North Carolina.”

“Duke Energy is helping to build the next generation of scientists, engineers, doctors, and innovators in our state,” said Tim Hurley, Teach For America-Charlotte executive director. “Thanks to their support, we’ve been able to increase the number of STEM teachers we bring to North Carolina, thereby helping to address a serious gap in STEM educational opportunity, particularly in our rural communities. These talented educators spark imagination, curiosity and creativity in their students, all while preparing them to be the leaders on which our shared future depends.”

Duke Energy Foundation
The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs vital to the health of its communities. Annually, the Foundation funds more than $25 million in charitable grants, with a focus on education, environment, economic and workforce development, and community impact. Duke Energy has long been committed to supporting the communities where its customers and employees live and work, and will continue to build on this legacy. For more information, visit www.duke-energy.com/foundation.

2015 N.C. Education Grant Recipients: Western Region

Asheville City Schools Foundation
Teacher-Directed STEM Achievement in Asheville City Schools
Provide teacher fellowships to engage in professional development in STEM topics and implement improved STEM instruction that is inquiry-based and hands-on.
Buncombe Co.

Buncombe County Education Foundation
Leadership Development for Transformational Schools
Implement programs that will enable a whole-school transformation model with an emphasis on leadership. There are several leadership programs specific to different grade levels and student character traits.
Buncombe Co.

Buncombe County Schools
I-3: Ignite, Inspire, and Invest STEM Pipeline Program
Equip Nesbit Discovery Academy with Biology, Physics and Chemistry labs and complete the Earth Science lab. The grant will also be used to implement the I-3 STEM Pipeline Program.
Buncombe Co.

Burke County Schools
STEM Launch
Create an engaging, relevant STEM program for two elementary schools within the Burke County Public Schools to pave the way for a larger STEM initiative that will expand to all 15 county elementary schools within the next few years.
Burke Co.

Catawba Science Center
Creating Access to Science
Engage all children in science experiences for the purpose of encouraging their interest in a science-based career.
Catawba Co.

Communities In Schools – Alexander County
Site Coordination
Embed Communities in Schools staff members in schools to bring in whole school and case-managed services, providing opportunities for learners to garner life tools used inside and outside the classroom.
Alexander Co.

Swain County Schools
Swain Students and Teachers Engaging Minds
Provide summer learning opportunities for students and teachers including the Swain-STEM (Students and Teachers Engaging Minds) project for the summer Discovery STEM Camp and Discovery Education-led STEM Teacher Academy professional development in summer 2015.
Swain Co.

Transylvania County Schools Education Foundation
TIME 4 Real Science Program
Build awareness and enthusiasm for science in young students and the community as a whole through research and a community-wide Citizen Science project.
Transylvania Co.

Western Piedmont Council of Governments
STEM West 2015
Select local teachers to work with local STEM industries to support the alignment of educational and occupational objectives through the regional workforce and community partnerships.

About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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