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!

Mrs. Kim Hipkiss
North Lenoir High School
La Grange, N.C.

Tri-County EMC, based in Dudley, is proud to announce that local teacher Kim Hipkiss of North Lenoir High School is being honored as a Tar Heel Teacher of the Week. Tri-County EMC nominated Mrs. Hipkiss in recognition of her dedication to students and for winning Bright Ideas education grant funding for the project “HOSA Helps 4-H.”

“Mrs. Hipkiss has won several Bright Idea grants during the past years,” said Michael Davis, general manager of Tri-County EMC. “We are privileged to work with many outstanding teachers through our Bright Ideas education grant program. Mrs. Hipkiss consistently goes above and beyond to make a difference for her students. It is an honor to recognize Mrs. Hipkiss for her hard work and to be able to thank her for the positive contribution she makes in our community.”

Mrs. Hipkiss’ grant was to purchase CPR adult manikins and infant manikins to be used to teach her HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America) class CPR for adults, children and infants. The student would then go to 4-H groups to share their knowledge. Since the grant was implemented, they have shared their knowledge with 4-H groups and elementary students in Lenoir County.

Mrs. Hipkiss will be recognized as a Tar Heel Teacher of the Week on the radio broadcast of the UNC vs. Duke game on Thursday, Nov. 20. She will receive four tickets to a Tar Heel football game and 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.

Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation is a member-driven cooperative based in Dudley, N.C. that is committed to providing reliable electric power at a reasonable cost, to offering superior service, and to taking an active role in supporting the communities it serves. For more information about North Carolina’s electric co-ops’ commitment to community, click here.


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.