BrightIdeas

Celebrating 20 years of Bright Ideas grants

At North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, we believe there is no more important investment than in our state’s youth. That’s why for the past 20 years, the electric co-ops have offered Bright Ideas education grants to Tar Heel teachers in K-12 classrooms across the state.

Bright Ideas grants provide funding for innovative, classroom-based projects that would otherwise not be possible. Since 1994, we have touched the lives of more than 1.6 million students who have participated in 8,800 Bright Ideas projects, and given out more than $9.1 million.

Applications are being accepted through September. Final application deadlines can vary, depending on the sponsoring electric cooperative in your area.

Congratulations to our Bright Ideas Tar Heel Teacher of the Week!

Ms. Beth Howard
Dixon Elementary School
Holly Ridge, N.C.

Jones-Onslow EMC, based in Jacksonville, is proud to nominate a local superstar teacher, Ms. Beth Howard of Dixon Elementary, for recognition at a statewide level as a Bright Ideas Tar Heel Teacher of the Week.

“Beth Howard is an incredible educator,” said Paula Redick, community relations and key accounts manager of JOEMC. “She has won a Bright Ideas grant 19 of the past 20 years, and her innovative projects always bring out the best in creative learning for her students.”

Beth Howard


A visual arts teacher who loves to integrate all subject areas into her lessons, Ms. Howard is truly deserving of this award: she has dedicated 25 years to working with Onslow County students, setting high standards for herself and for them, and was named Onslow County Teacher of the Year for 2007 and North Carolina South East Regional Teacher of the Year 2007/2008. Her latest Bright Ideas grant project was called “The Great Outdoors Revisited” and created an outdoor learning space that benefits the entire school community.

Ms. Howard will be recognized Saturday, Sept. 20 on the radio broadcast of the UNC vs. ECU game. She will receive four tickets to a Tar Heel football game and a pre-game tailgate celebration, as well a plaque commemorating her achievement.

North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives make possible the Tar Heel Teacher of the Week and Bright Ideas education grant programs in support of education and local communities. Only 26 exceptional North Carolina teachers will be honored as Teachers of the Week this year. For more information about Jones-Onslow EMC, click here. For more information about the co-ops’ commitment to community, click here.

Congratulations, Ms. Howard, and thank you for bringing learning to life for your students!




See how Bright Ideas impacts teachers and students by watching our 20th anniversary celebration video:


This year, the cooperatives expect to award about $600,000 to educators at schools across the state for projects in a variety of disciplines including music, art, history, reading, science, career-planning and information technology. To find out if your school is eligible or to determine the final application deadline in your area, click the “Search for My School” tab above.

Applications are accepted each year from April through mid-September, and the program offers a convenient and simple online application process. The final deadline depends on your school’s sponsoring electric cooperative. Educators may apply as individuals or as a team for the grants, which are awarded in a competitive evaluation process by individual electric cooperatives throughout the state.

North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives are committed to the communities they serve. Find about more about the cooperatives’ community programs here.