North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives Kick-Off 2021 Bright Ideas Application Process

Teacher and student working on science experiment

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are pleased to announce that teachers can apply for Bright Ideas education grants beginning April 1 for the 2021-2022 school year. Offered statewide by each of the state’s 26 local cooperatives, the grants will provide funding that brings creative learning projects to life in the classroom and enriches the educational experience for students in North Carolina. Approximately $600,000 in grants will be awarded to educators this year across North Carolina’s 100 counties.

“We look forward to supporting the state’s students and educators through our Bright Ideas program each year, and even more so now as schools continue to address the challenges of the past year,” said North Carolina Electric Cooperatives’ Senior Vice President and COO Nelle Hotchkiss. “Teachers have great creativity in meeting the needs of students, and we hope Bright Ideas grants will further help the development of new, inventive ways of learning.”

For more than 25 years, the Bright Ideas education grant program has expanded learning opportunities in classrooms from K-12, with approximately 600 grants awarded annually by the state’s 26 electric cooperatives. To date, the cooperatives have issued more than $13.6 million in grants that have supported 12,922 projects and benefitted well over 2.7 million students statewide.

As part of the application process, teachers must submit a budget, the implementation, goals, creative elements and evaluation of the idea, as well as have the stamp of approval from their school’s principal. Educators can apply individually or as a team for funding in all subject areas including art, history, math, reading, science and technology.

“Cooperatives are committed to building a brighter future for the members and communities we serve, and partnering with teachers is a natural fit,” said Hotchkiss. “We are proud to support teachers as they develop the next generation of leaders and changemakers, and we urge interested educators to learn more and apply.”

Teacher and student working on science experiment

Applicants are encouraged to visit their local co-op’s website to find details on specific submission requirements and deadlines. The final deadline for application submissions in most areas is Sept. 15, 2021 but can vary by region. For more information about the program and grant-writing tips, please visit