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Bright Ideas Grants

Central Electric is continually seeking ways to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. That's why each year through the Bright Ideas Program, the Co-op awards approximately $15,000 to teachers to help bring creative and innovative projects into their classroom. Co-sponsored by the N.C. Association of Electric Cooperatives, the grants are available to teachers in area schools for projects that traditional school money does not cover. All of North Carolina's 26 electric Cooperatives participate in the program.

Each year, more than 2,000 applications are accepted from teachers in a variety of disciplines including music, art, history, reading, science, career-planning and information technology. Since the Bright Ideas program began in 1994, North Carolina's electric cooperatives have awarded over $14 million to teachers for 12,900 projects benefiting more than 2.7 million students.

Grant applications will be accepted through Sept. 15, but teachers who submit their applications by the early bird deadline of Aug. 15 will be entered into a drawing for one of five $100 Visa gift cards. For more information, you can contact Ryley Osentoski at 919-708-1639 or by email at

 to learn more, access the application or apply for a grant

2023 Bright Ideas Grant Recipients

In 2023, the co-op awarded over $15,000 to 14 educators, who were selected by an independent panel of judges. Almost 4,000 students in our communities will be positively impacted as a result. Since 1994, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have awarded more than $14 million to educators across the state.

Congratulations to the following 2023 grant recipients:

Jennifer Ames, Grace Christian School, "Robotics"

Aubrey Arnoczy, New Century Middle, "New Century 3D Printers"

Deanna Deaton, Greenwood Elementary, "Musical Expeditions: Mapping Global Sounds"

Zachary Francis, Lee County High, "Memories Through a Lens"

Jena Johnson, J S Waters School, "We Broke Out - Escape to Learning!"

Jo Ann Lawler, Deep River Elementary, "Printing a 3-Dimensional Future at the River"

Cassie Lynch, Floyd L. Knight Child Center, "More than a Mat"

Darlene McDowell, Central Carolina Academy, "Hands on Deck Science Stations"

Matthew Miller, J.R. Ingram Elementary, "J.R. Ingram Eagle News"

Lisa Moore, Carthage Elementary, "Write and Erase with Boogie Boards"

Spencer Reece, Floyd L. Knight Child Center, "Light Up Learning"

Emma Smith, Broadway Elementary, "Robots, Coding and Technology!"

Melanie Spell, Perry W. Harrison School, "One School, One Book: The World According to Humphrey"

Shannon Stanley, Carthage Elementary, "All Are Welcome"

Bright Ideas Photos

Click to enlarge.