Bright Ideas Grant Application Opens April 1

North Carolina’s 26 not-for-profit electric cooperatives will be accepting applications for Bright Ideas education grants starting April 1.  The cooperatives, which provide electricity and energy services to 2.5 million North Carolinians, expect to award more than $700,000 in grants for hundreds of projects statewide. Educators with creative ideas for impactful learning projects can apply online at

“North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have always been committed to building a brighter future for the members and communities we serve, and supporting youth and education initiatives is a cornerstone of that continued commitment,” said Nelle Hotchkiss, senior vice president and COO of association services at North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “We are proud to partner with teachers and schools across the state to bolster learning and inspire the next generation of our state’s leaders.”

Educators are encouraged to apply as individuals or as a team for funding across all curriculum areas including art, history, math, reading, music, science, technology and more. Most projects can be funded up to $2,000, but grant amounts vary depending on the sponsoring cooperative.

Almost 30 years ago, the Bright Ideas education grant program was created to broaden and enhance learning opportunities in North Carolina’s K-12 classrooms. Today, approximately 600 grants are awarded each year. North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have collectively issued over $15 million in grants that have supported more than 14,200 projects and benefited well over 3.5 million students statewide since 1994.

“North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are demonstrating the cooperative difference by investing in the advancement of education throughout our state,” said Joshua Tillman, communications and community relations specialist for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “We encourage educators in all disciplines and subjects to learn more about the program and apply for a Bright Ideas grant today.”

The deadline to submit an application for the 2023-2024 school year in most locations is Sept. 15, but applicants should confirm the specific date with their local electric cooperative. Additionally, educators who apply by the Early Bird deadline of Aug. 15 will be entered into a drawing to win a prize. 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