Bright Ideas education grants available from N.C. electric cooperatives

Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are now accepting Bright Ideas education grant applications for the 2015-2016 school year. Co-ops across the state are expected to award nearly $600,000 to North Carolina educators to fund creative, hands-on classroom projects that fall outside traditional school budgets. Teachers can learn more and apply online at

“One of the core principles of electric cooperatives is showing concern and support for our communities,” said Lindsey Listrom, Bright Ideas coordinator for North Carolina’s electric cooperatives. “Supporting educators and students through Bright Ideas grants is an impactful way to demonstrate our principles. We know the future of our communities lies in the hands of today’s students, and these grants provide teachers with new resources to reach and make a difference for students.”

The Bright Ideas education grant program was created in 1994 to support teachers and enhance education by engaging students in meaningful learning projects that encourage creative approaches. Since 1994, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have contributed more than $9.6 million to Tar Heel teachers for 9,200 projects benefiting more than 1.8 million students in the state.

Bright Ideas grants are available to K-12 teachers for innovative projects in any subject. Educators can apply individually or as a team by submitting a simple online application. Maximum grant amounts range from $1,000 – $3,000, depending on the sponsoring electric cooperative’s policy.

Applications are accepted April 1 through September, with the final application deadline date varying regionally. Listrom noted it could pay to apply early, as teachers who submit their applications by the early bird deadline of Friday, Aug. 14 will be automatically entered to win one of five $100 Visa gift cards.

To apply, teachers must include a budget, explain the creative elements, implementation, goals and evaluation of the project, and have approval from the school principal. Applications will be judged in a competitive evaluation process, and judges will be on the lookout for projects that feature innovation and creativity. The application, grant-writing tips and examples of past winning proposals can be found online at See the Bright Ideas kickoff video here.

“Year after year, we are amazed by the creativity and dedication that teachers put into their applications,” Listrom said. “We’re proud to continue the co-ops’ long tradition of supporting educators and investing in the future of our communities and our state.”

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives emphasize the importance of community involvement, integrity, accountability and innovation and serve more than 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties.