NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Entergy Corporation has created a $5 million endowment to honor retiring Chairman and CEO J. Wayne Leonard and continue efforts to address issues of climate change, poverty and social justice.

"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 has defined his tenure at Entergy."

During Leonard’s tenure, the company has donated more than $50 million to charitable initiatives and advocacy efforts that helped move low-income residents toward self-sufficiency, the company said in a statement.

In 2001, Entergy said it became the first utility in the U.S. to commit to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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

Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.