North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy Co-ops Give More than $500,000 to Deserving Teachers for 16th Year

Raleigh, N.C. —North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives have earmarked at least $500,000 for classroom-based projects through their funding of the Bright Ideas education grant program for the 2009-2010 school year. Teachers can learn about the program and apply online at Grants of up to $2,000 are available through North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation. The deadline for teachers to submit a Bright Ideas grant application is September 18, but teachers who submit their application by the early-bird deadline on August 17 will be entered in a drawing for a $500 Visa gift card.

All certified K-12 teachers in North Carolina are eligible to apply for a Bright Ideas grant. The Bright Ideas education grant program is currently the only program in the state exclusively for classroom educators.

“North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives are in their 16th year of the Bright Ideas education grant program and are excited to award more than $500,000 in grants again this year,” said Morgan Lashley, Bright Ideas coordinator for NCEMC.  Last year, the state’s electric cooperatives distributed more than $587,000 in Bright Ideas grants, benefiting more than 116,000 students.

Bright Ideas grants finance innovative classroom projects that would otherwise go unfunded. Over the years, North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives have financed a variety of hands-on projects, including activities in music, art, history, language, reading, science, career-planning and information technology.

Since its inception in1994, the Bright Ideas grant program has awarded more than $6.5 million in grant money to North Carolina’s teachers to sponsor 5,900 projects benefiting more than 1 million students. “We’re eager to continue improving education in North Carolina classrooms through the Bright Ideas education grant program this year,” said Lashley. “We anticipate that we will surpass the $7 million milestone in grant money awarded to teachers this year, allowing us to reach even more students than we have in the past.”

The primary elements of the application process include an explanation of the project and how it will benefit students. A sample application is available on the Web site as well as contact information of program coordinators for those teachers who have questions or require more information.

The Bright Ideas education grant program is part of the electric cooperatives’ ongoing commitment to North Carolina communities.North Carolina’s electric cooperatives serve more than 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties.