North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives Kick Off Bright Ideas Grant Program

Raleigh, N.C. —North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have pledged nearly $600,000 to the state’s teachers in Bright Ideas education grant funding for the 2013-14 school year and are accepting grant applications beginning April 1. About 500 grants will be awarded directly to educators statewide this year for creative, hands-on classroom projects that would not otherwise be funded. Teachers can learn more and apply online at

“Bright Ideas grants allow students to build, create and learn by doing, instead of just reading words from textbooks or scribbling out math problems on notebook paper,” said Lindsey Listrom, Bright Ideas coordinator for North Carolina’s electric cooperatives. “We are so pleased to give teachers new resources to make a difference for students by bringing their creative ideas to life.”

The grants are available to certified K-12 teachers for innovative projects in any subject. Teachers can apply individually or as a team by submitting a simple online application. Maximum grant amounts range from $1,000 – $3,000, depending on the sponsoring electric cooperative’s policy.

Applications will be accepted April 1 through September, but Listrom noted it could pay to apply early. Teachers who submit their applications by the early bird deadline of Friday, Aug. 16 will be entered to win a $500 Visa gift card.

To apply, teachers must include a budget, explain the creative elements, implementation, goals and evaluation of the project, and have approval from the school principal. Applications will be judged in a competitive evaluation process, and judges will be on the lookout for projects that feature innovation and creativity. The application, grant-writing tips and examples of past winning proposals can be found at

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives created the Bright Ideas grant program in 1994 to improve education by engaging students in meaningful learning projects that encourage creative approaches. Since then, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have contributed more than $8.5 million to teachers for 8,300 projects benefiting more than 1.5 million students.

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

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives emphasize the importance of community involvement, integrity, accountability and innovation and serve more than 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties.