North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Pledge $500,000 for State’s Teachers; Teachers Can Apply for Co-ops 2006-2007 Bright Ideas Education Grants

Raleigh, N.C.North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives have earmarked more than $500,000 for classroom-based projects through its funding of the Bright Ideas Education Grant Program for 2006-2007. 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 fall 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 program exclusively for the state’s classroom educators.

“We expect to give out over $500,000 in grant monies this year,” said Suzanne Ward, Bright Ideas Coordinator. Last year, the state’s 27 electric cooperatives gave out more than $540,000 in Bright Ideas grants, an all-time annual high for the program.

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 $4.5 million in grant money to North Carolina’s teachers to sponsor 4,000 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. A sample application is on the Web site as well as contact information for teachers who have questions or require more information.

Bright Ideas is part of the electric cooperatives ongoing commitment to North Carolina communities. North Carolina’s electric cooperatives serve more than 2.2 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties.