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

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina’s electric cooperatives awarded close to $600,000 in Bright Ideas education grants this year, funding 550 creative learning projects that will directly benefit approximately 100,000 students in the state. Over the 20-year history of Bright Ideas grants in North Carolina, the co-ops have contributed more than $9.6 million to Tar Heel teachers, making possible 9,200 projects that have impacted more than 1.8 million students statewide.

The Bright Ideas education grant program supports teachers and enhances classroom education by providing funding for meaningful learning projects that engage students and encourage creative approaches. This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Bright Ideas program, which is sponsored by North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives.

“North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are committed to supporting the communities we serve, and Bright Ideas grants are an important part of that commitment,” said Lindsey Listrom, Bright Ideas coordinator for the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives. “Bright Ideas grants allow us to target our support of education by partnering with exceptional educators who are implementing strategies that will truly make a difference for students.”

In November and December, representatives and prize patrols from the state’s 26 electric cooperatives presented Bright Ideas grants to more than 550 educators at surprise classroom visits, festivals, banquets and awards ceremonies across the state. The cooperatives received nearly 2,000 Bright Ideas grant applications this year.

Bright Ideas grants are available to K-12 teachers for dynamic projects in any subject. Maximum grant amounts range from $1,000 – $3,000, depending on the sponsoring electric cooperative’s policy. Applications are collected each year through mid-September, and winning proposals are selected in a competitive evaluation process by a panel of judges. The application process will reopen for interested teachers in April 2015, and teachers can learn more at

“Year after year, we are amazed by the creativity and dedication that teachers put into their Bright Ideas grant projects,” Listrom said. “We’re proud to continue the co-ops’ long tradition of supporting educators and investing in the future of our state.”

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are committed to local communities and provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity to 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties.