Bright Ideas Grants Fund More Than 600 Projects in Schools Across North Carolina

It has been another bright year for the N.C. Bright Ideas education grant program. In 2018, the program awarded more than $600,000 in grants to hundreds of teachers for more than 600 innovative projects in elementary, middle and high schools across the state.

Teachers and students posing with check and balloons

Teachers and students from Laurel Hill Elementary celebrate receiving a Bright Ideas grant from Pee Dee Electric.

“We are recognizing exceptional educators who have gone above and beyond to promote ingenuity in the classroom,” said Jennifer Heiss, Bright Ideas coordinator for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “We are honored to continue supporting our state’s teachers, students and communities by providing funding for innovative projects that make learning engaging and will prepare our students for future success.”

Bright Ideas grants provide funding for creative, hands-on projects in all disciplines, including music, art, history, language, reading, science, mathematics and information technology, just to name a few. This year, N.C. Co-ops received more than 1,400 applications, making the selection process competitive for applicants and difficult for judges.

Among the celebrations and surprise visits to grant-winning teachers taking place across the state, five electric cooperatives hosted a luncheon on Friday, December 7 at the StateView Hotel in Raleigh honoring 125 teachers who collectively were awarded more than $200,000 in Bright Ideas grants. Their projects will benefit students in 22 North Carolina counties, including Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Craven, Cumberland, Dare, Durham, Franklin, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Orange, Person, Sampson, Vance, Wake, Wayne and Wilson counties.

Piedmont Electric grant recipients 2018

Teachers and administrators celebrate receiving their Bright Ideas grants from Piedmont Electric.

Sponsoring the grants awarded at the luncheon were Central Electric, based in Sanford; North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, based in Raleigh; Piedmont Electric, based in Hillsborough; South River EMC, based in Dunn; and Wake Electric, based in Wake Forest.

Since the program’s inception in 1994, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have awarded more than $11.5 million in Bright Ideas grants to fund more than 11,000 projects, reaching more than 2.2 million students. Grant applications are accepted from April through September.

North Carolina K-12 teachers can learn more by visiting the In the Community section of our website, or at