Triangle-area teachers receive more than $177,000 at Bright Ideas education grant awards celebration


Four of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives awarded more than $177,000 in Bright Ideas education grants to nearly 100 teachers from the Triangle and surrounding areas at the 19th annual Bright Ideas Grant Awards Luncheon on Friday, Nov. 18. Each of North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives offer Bright Ideas grants each year to fund innovative, hands-on projects benefiting students across the state.

“We are so proud to be able to award these grants and celebrate the achievements of these outstanding educators,” said Chris Nault, manager of public relations for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “We are honored to continue supporting our state’s teachers, students and communities by providing funding for innovative projects that make learning engaging and will prepare our students for future success.”


Lafayette Elementary teacher, Elizabeth Babcock, discusses her Bright Ideas grant project “Outstanding OSMOS!” Babcock received her grant from South River EMC.

Educators and their school administrators gathered at Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center at North Carolina State University to receive grants benefiting students in Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Cumberland, Durham, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Nash, Orange, Person, Sampson and Wake counties. These grants cover projects across all disciplines, ranging from art and reading to math and science.


Richard “Coach” Hughes from Woodland Elementary talks about his project “The Adventures of Captain Laker and the Hula Huts from the 3rd Dimension.” Hughes’ Bright Ideas grant was funded by Piedmont Electric Cooperative.

Sponsoring the grants awarded at the luncheon are Central Electric, based in Sanford; Piedmont Electric, based in Hillsborough; South River EMC, based in Dunn; and Wake Electric, based in Wake Forest.

These are just a portion of the grants awarded across the state this year. In total, close to $700,000 in Bright Ideas grants are expected to be awarded to teachers statewide by North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives this fall.


Don Bowman, vice president of engineering and operations and assistant general manager at Wake Electric, discusses the impact of the Bright Ideas grant program and cooperatives’ commitment to their communities.

Since Bright Ideas began in 1994, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have awarded more than $14 million in grants to fund nearly 14,000 projects, reaching more than 2.8 million students. Grant applications are accepted from April through September. North Carolina K-12 teachers can learn more and apply at