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 20 years of Bright Ideas grants 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 statewide designed not only to help students master core skills, but also spark higher interest in learning for years to come.

“Bright Ideas grants provide additional resources to teachers who create innovative projects that light up learning for students,” said Lindsey Listrom, Bright Ideas coordinator for the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives. “North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives are committed to the local communities we serve, and we believe investing in the education of our future leaders is one of the most important contributions we can make.”

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. This year, the cooperatives are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Bright Ideas grant program. Since 1994, N.C. teachers have won more than $9.1 million for 8,800 projects, and more than 1.6 million students have participated in Bright Ideas-funded projects in all subjects including math, reading, science, technology, engineering, 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.

Grant applications are accepted from April through September, and North Carolina K-12 teachers may apply online at

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