North Carolina’s electric cooperatives award Bright Ideas grants worth $600,000 to teachers

RALEIGH, N.C. —North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives are celebrating teachers and innovation in the classroom this month by awarding Tar Heel teachers more than $600,000 in Bright Ideas education grants. The grants will fund more than 500 creative projects designed to help students master core skills and to spark higher interest in learning for years to come.

“North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives are committed to the local communities we serve, and we believe education is the key,” said Lindsey Listrom, Bright Ideas Coordinator for the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives. “We’re arming teachers with the supplies they need to bring innovative, hands-on learning into classrooms across the state.”

The Bright Ideas program, sponsored by North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives, provides grants directly to teachers to fund innovative learning projects not covered by traditional school financing. Grant applications are accepted from April through September, and North Carolina K-12 teachers may apply online at

Since the program’s inception in 1994, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have awarded more than $8.5 million to N.C. teachers for 8,300 projects. The Bright Ideas program has reached more than 1.5 million students in all subjects including math, reading, science and technology, music and the arts.

Throughout November, the co-ops honor Bright Ideas grant winners at local ceremonies, banquets featuring acclaimed guest speakers, and even a grant presentation that includes Carolina Panthers players and mascot Sir Purr at a Charlotte-area elementary school. Bright Ideas “prize patrol” teams will also visit schools across the state to surprise winning teachers’ and award their grant checks.

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives serve 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties.