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. Holly Massey
Mars Hill Elementary
Mars Hill, N.C.

French Broad EMC, based in Marshall, N.C., is pleased to nominate an exceptional local educator, Mrs. Holly Massey, for recognition on a statewide level. A kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Massey strives to create memorable learning experiences that put all of her students on the path to academic success.
Holly Massey


Her recent “Kindergarten to the Core” project brought books, games, manipulatives, and an outdoor learning lab with sand and water tables to her students. The project incorporates several areas of study, focusing on promoting literacy, increasing vocabulary, and introducing key math and science concepts, and will be repeated for years to come. By making learning exciting, Mrs. Massey builds a foundation of skills that will boost students’ confidence and help them succeed as they move up to higher grades.

Mrs. Massey will be recognized as a Tar Heel Teacher of the Week on the radio broadcast of the UNC vs. University of Virginia game on Saturday, Oct. 25. 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.

French Broad EMC provides the highest quality of service to more than 37,000 members in Madison County, Buncombe County, Yancey County and Mitchell County in North Carolina, as well as members in Unicoi County and Cocke County in Tennessee. For more information about the 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.