North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy Co-Ops to Fund More Than $500,000 in Classroom Projects

Raleigh, N.C. —North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives have earmarked more than $500,000 for classroom-based projects through their funding of the Bright Ideas Education Grant Program for the 2007-2008 school year. Teachers can learn about the program and apply online at Grants up to $2,000 are available. The deadline for the grant program differs for each sponsoring electric cooperative, but all deadlines are during the month of September. Teachers can go to the Bright Ideas Web site to find out their school’s deadline.

All North Carolina certified K-12 teachers are eligible for a Bright Ideas grant, the only grant program developed exclusively for the state’s classroom educators.

“We anticipate awarding more than $500,000 in grants this year,” said Jane Pritchard, who has overseen the program since its inception in 1994. Last year, the state’s 27 electric cooperatives gave out more than $525,000 in Bright Ideas grants, benefiting more than 121,000 K-12 students in North Carolina.

Bright Ideas grants finance innovative and creative classroom projects that would otherwise go unfunded. 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 it began in 1994, the Bright Ideas program has awarded more than $5.3 million in grant money to North Carolina’s teachers to sponsor 5,000 projects benefiting more than 800,000 students.

Simplicity is the hallmark of the application process. The primary elements are narratives explaining the project and how it will benefit students. Sample applications can be found on the Bright Ideas Web site. At, teachers will also find contact information for questions that may require a more detailed response.

Bright Ideas 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.