Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina's newly minted public-private partnership set up to create jobs across the state revealed its five major donors this week, among them Duke Energy and software firm Red Hat.
Legislation passed by the General Assembly this summer required the nonprofit Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina to raise at least $250,000 in private funds before receiving state money. Establishing the partnership was a central part of Gov. Pat McCrory's plan to change the way state attracts business growth.
In a press release Friday afternoon, the group announced it received $440,000 from five "corporate partners."
The largest donation, $200,000, came from Duke Energy. Raleigh-based Red Hat pitched in $100,000, and smaller donations came from Piedmont Natural Gas, Morrisville-based computer maker Lenovo and Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Co.
Red Hat has so far received about $470,000 out of $15 million in incentive projects announced in 2011.
Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas political action committees have contributed thousands of dollars to North Carolina Republican leaders since 2012, including McCrory. So has Frank Dowd, chief executive of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry.
The partnership also touted its role in the creation of 1,560 jobs across eight different projects and the continued filming of CBS' "Under the Dome" series in Wilmington.
It's not clear what specific role the group had in securing the jobs. EDPNC Chairman John Lassiter did not return a call for comment Friday afternoon.
“What’s different about our approach is that we’re marshaling public and private resources to help in North Carolina’s business recruiting efforts,” Lassiter said in the release. “We’re delighted with the confidence these companies have shown by joining us, and with the quality of new and expanding business prospects who are considering planting or growing their roots here.”
Although ostensibly a nonprofit entity separate from state government, state law specifically requires the partnership to follow North Carolina public records law with regard to much of its business, including providing salary information, policy specifics and records of gifts and contributions.
The partnership's website on Friday listed 20 "management-level" salaries as of October.
In mid-October, WRAL News requested a number of records from the organization, including detailed salary information and conflict of interest policies. The partnership has not yet fulfilled the full request.