North Carolina’s Electric Co-ops Earmark More than $590,000 For Bright Ideas Grant Program’s 17th Year

Raleigh, N.C. —North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, including North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation, allocated more than $590,000 for classroom-based projects through the Bright Ideas education grant program for the 2010-2011 school year. Teachers can learn about the program and apply online beginning April 19 at

 The electric cooperatives’ Bright Ideas program is the only education grant program exclusive to North Carolina’s K-12 teachers. Grants of up to $1,500 are available through NCEMC.  The deadline for teachers to submit an application is September 20.   Teachers who submit their application by the early-bird deadline on August 16 will be entered in a drawing for a $500 Visa gift card.

“North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives are in their 17th year of the Bright Ideas education grant program and are excited to award more than $590,000 in grants again this year,” said Morgan Lashley, Bright Ideas coordinator for NCEMC.  Last year, the state’s electric cooperatives distributed more than $596,000 in Bright Ideas grants, benefiting more than 116,000 students.

Bright Ideas grants help finance innovative classroom projects that would otherwise not receive funding.  Over the years, North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives have sponsored a variety of hands-on projects, including activities in music, art, history, language, math, science, career-planning and information technology.

Since its inception in 1994, the Bright Ideas grant program has awarded more than $7.1 million in grant money to North Carolina’s teachers to sponsor more than 6,500 projects benefiting more than 1.2 million students. “We’re eager to continue improving education in North Carolina classrooms through the Bright Ideas education grant program,” said Lashley.

The primary elements of the online application process include an explanation of the project and its potential benefits to students.  A sample application and contact information for program coordinators are available on the Bright Ideas Web site.

The Bright Ideas education grant program is part of the electric cooperatives’ ongoing commitment to North Carolina communities.North Carolina’s electric cooperatives serve more than 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties.