Bright Ideas Early Bird Deadline Winners Announced

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives recently announced this year’s Bright Ideas Early Bird Winners, each of whom will receive a $100 gift card. These winners were selected at random from among the educators statewide who submitted a Bright Ideas Education Grant application to their local electric cooperative by the early bird deadline of Aug. 15. This year, more than 490 early applications were received.

The five winning teachers are:

Brianne Black, Tideland EMC

Tammy Hancock, EnergyUnited

Each year, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives award more than $600,000 in Bright Ideas grants to K-12 teachers across the state for innovative classroom projects that engage students and bring learning to life. Grants are awarded in all subjects and grade levels, and educators may apply individually or as a team.

Kim Mellor, Piedmont EMC

2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the Bright Ideas grant program. Since it began in 1994, educators statewide have received more than $12.2 million in Bright Ideas grant funding for nearly 11,700 projects benefiting 2.3 million North Carolina students. In 2018, North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives awarded the largest amount of annual Bright Ideas funding to date, with more than $675,000 in Bright Ideas grants that made possible more than 600 projects for nearly 150,000 students across the state.

Emily Warnke, EnergyUnited

The final deadline to apply for a Bright Ideas grant is in September, with the exact date varying by cooperative. Visit to find the deadline for your school, learn more about the program or submit a grant application.

Brandon Woody, Edgecombe-Martin County EMC