Entergy Corp. announced the creation of a $5 million endowment to honor retiring Chairman and CEO J. Wayne Leonard in an effort to address the issues of climate change, poverty and social justice.

The fund is being endowed through shareholder-funded donations to the Entergy Charitable Foundation.

“Wayne has been a passionate advocate on each of these issues during his years at Entergy, so we could think of no better way to honor him than by creating the J. Wayne Leonard Poverty, Climate Change and Social Justice Fund,” said Leo Denault, who will assume the role of Entergy’s chairman and CEO when Leonard retires Jan. 31. “To a great extent, his compassion for people from all walks of life and his desire to protect the environment for future generations have defined his tenure at Entergy.

“We see this fund as a vehicle for Wayne, as an adviser to the fund, and Entergy to continue making important contributions in these areas for years to come,” added Denault.

Leonard has been an advocate for action by business, community and political leaders to break the cycle of poverty. During his tenure as CEO, the company has donated more than $50 million to charitable initiatives and advocacy efforts that successfully helped move low-income residents toward self-sufficiency, including early childhood education programs and matched-savings program.

In 2001, Entergy became the first utility in the U.S. to commit to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The company said Entergy cut carbon emissions by 455.5 million tons through 2011, 12.6 percent better than its goal.

Entergy Corp. turns 100 years old in 2013. Its subsidiary, Entergy Arkansas, is the largest electric utility in the state.

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