United Way of Gaston County has received a $20,000 grant from Duke Energy.

According to UWGC President Andrea Stephens, the money will have a significant impact on the community.

Duke Energy recently informed organizations all over North Carolina that they had been selected as one of 39 non-profits that would be receiving a portion of a $1 million grant from the Duke Energy Foundation.

According to a press release by Duke, the company noticed costs for basic needs increasing across the board, and an increased demand for assistance from North Carolina’s nonprofits.

“These grants will strengthen capacity and increase the impact of local agencies that are on the forefront of helping North Carolinians with essential services like meals and shelter,” according to a press release.

UWGC usually gets funding from Duke Energy’s Share the Light program which allows Duke customers to help a neighbor by contributing funds.

Stephens says UWGC receives these funds annually and uses them to help Gaston County residents experiencing an energy crisis. She said she has only been working with UWGC for a year, but in her time as president, she has seen several hundreds of Gaston County residents find assistance through United Way.

The organization supports roughly 47 households every month and has assisted a total of 512 households since September 2022 using Share the Light and Duke Settlement funds.

Duke Energy President in North Carolina said in the press release, “Many nonprofits have experienced unprecedented demand in the last few years. These grants focus on building nonprofits’ capacities so they can meet the increased need.”

According to Stephens, Gaston County organizations are no exception.

“We are seeing ongoing increased needs in the areas of utility assistance as well as other areas, such as rental assistance,” Stephens said. “We have a number of non-profit leaders in Gaston County doing critical work, being passionate, and leading people even beyond their crisis.”

Prior to joining United Way, Stephens worked with Gaston County Schools for years says she is very familiar with the county at large.

According to Stephens, getting involved with United Way of Gaston County was an opportunity for her to serve the community from a different perspective.