Spotlight

Innovative Educators Can Apply for Bright Ideas Education Grants Beginning April 1

For more than 25 years, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have partnered with local educators to bring learning to life through the Bright Ideas education grant program. Starting April 1, educators can apply for Bright Ideas grants from their local electric cooperative for innovative, hands-on classroom projects that would not otherwise be funded. Teachers can learn more and submit an online application at the newly revamped ncbrightideas.com.

Students standing with robotics equipment

Students from Early College EAST High School use robotics equipment funded through a Bright Ideas grant from Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative.

“The Bright Ideas grant program has already impacted millions of students across our state, and it will continue to fund unique projects that make learning engaging and fun,” said Jennifer Heiss, Bright Ideas coordinator for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “We applaud our state’s educators for their ingenuity and willingness to partner with their local electric cooperative to turn their bright ideas into reality.”

The grants are available to K-12 teachers for projects in any subject, and educators can apply individually or as a team. The final deadline to apply is in September, with the exact date varying by co-op. Search for your school to find the deadline for your area. Teachers who submit their applications by the early bird deadline of Aug. 15 will also be entered to win one of five $100 Visa gift cards.

To apply, teachers must include a budget, explain the implementation, goals, creative elements and evaluation of the project, and have approval from their principal or supervisor. Applications will be judged through a competitive evaluation process, with judges looking for projects that feature inventive and creative approaches to learning. Additional grant-writing tips can be found at ncbrightideas.com.

In 2019, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives collectively set a record by awarding more than $716,000 in Bright Ideas funding for 660 projects, the most awarded in a single year in the history of the program. Since the program began in 1994, educators statewide have received more than $12.9 million in Bright Ideas grant funding, and approximately 2.5 million North Carolina students have participated in 12,359 Bright Ideas-funded projects.

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