Apply Early for a Bright Ideas Grant for Chance at Extra $100

Teacher with elementary school students explaining creative classroom project

Back to school season is right around the corner, and so is the deadline for Bright Ideas education grant applications. While the final deadline to apply for a Bright Ideas grant is Sept. 15 for most cooperatives, North Carolina educators with creative ideas for classroom learning projects are encouraged to apply before the early bird deadline of Aug. 15 for the chance to win one of five $100 gift cards. Last year, over 300 educators submitted applications prior to the early bird deadline and were automatically entered into the prize drawing.

connie ashley-perquimans central school-albemarle EMC)

Last year, Connie Ashley of Perquimans Central School was awarded an early bird prize by Albemarle EMC.

“North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are dedicated to investing in our educators, students and schools as part of our work to build a brighter future for rural communities across the state,” said Chris Nault, manager of public relations at North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “We applaud the hard work and dedication of our state’s educators and encourage them to take advantage of Bright Ideas grants to help bring their creative learning projects to life.”

The Bright Ideas education grant program is a shared initiative of all 26 electric co-ops in North Carolina. Collectively, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have awarded more than $15 million in grant funding supporting over 14,200 innovative classroom projects. Bright Ideas grants have benefited well over 3.5 million students across the state since the program’s inception in 1994. The cooperatives expect to award more than $700,000 in grants to fund over 600 projects this year.

Bright Ideas education grants are available to K-12 educators in all 100 North Carolina counties. Educators can apply as individuals or as a team. Projects in all curriculum areas including art, history, math, reading, science, technology and more are eligible for grants. Applications must include a budget, project goals, implementation plan and description of how the project will engage students and enhance their success. Most projects can be funded up to $2,000, but grant amounts vary depending on the sponsoring cooperative.

Interested applicants are encouraged to visit their local co-op’s website to find more information on application requirements and deadlines. To learn more about the program, review grant-writing tips and read stories about past projects and grant winners, please visit