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Duke Energy to donate more than $265,000 in STEM grants to Pinellas schools

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Duke Energy is doling out $1 million across the state of Florida for programs furthering science, technology, engineering and math learning. A good chunk of the money is coming to Pinellas County.

According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, $267,222 is being allocated to the Pinellas County Education Foundation. That group organized in 1986 to help support Pinellas County public school teachers and students.

The group has raised more than $10 million since its inception. It’s a coalition of business and community leaders who work together with the goal of furthering educational opportunities in public schools.

Duke Energy is also contributing $85,000 to the University of South Florida after they already contributed $1 million in May for a massive solar panel research project that is providing energy for a USF parking garage including its elevators, lighting and electric car charging stations.

Duke is contributing to other local grant initiatives including $50,000 each to the Pasco and Polk Education Foundations and $25,000 to the Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay.

That group serves 12 counties, including the Tampa Bay area. Volunteers consist of business professionals, college students, parents and even retirees who all donate time to provide role models to youngsters as well as specially modeled educational curriculum.

The program exists nationwide in 123 countries and reaches nearly 10 million students.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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