Wake Forest, N.C.- Wake Electric has earmarked more than $50,000 for classroom-based projects through the Bright Ideas education grant program for the 2012-2013 school year. Teachers can learn about the program and apply online beginning April 1 atwww.ncbrightideas.com.

“Bright Ideas puts new resources in the hands of teachers with creative strategies to engage students,” said Darnell Alford, Business Operations Specialist and Bright Ideas coordinator for Wake Electric. “We’re proud to continue the co-ops’ long tradition of supporting educators and investing in the future of our state.”

Bright Ideas, sponsored by North Carolina’s electric cooperatives (which includes Wake Electric), strives to improve education in North Carolina’s classrooms by awarding grants to teachers in grades K-12 for innovative, classroom-based projects that would not otherwise be funded. The program is the only one of its kind in the state exclusively for K-12 teachers. The program has sponsored a wide variety of hands-on projects in all disciplines. Grants of up to $3,000 are available through Wake Electric for public school teachers.

The deadline for teachers to submit an application is September 12. Teachers who submit their application by the early-bird deadline on August 17 will be entered in a drawing for a $500 Visa gift card.

Last year, Wake Electric funded 24 Bright Ideas grants totaling more than $50,000.

To apply, educators must submit an application that includes a description of the project’s goals, implementation, creative elements and budget. Applications will be judged in a competitive evaluation process, and judges will be on the lookout for projects that feature innovation and creativity.

A sample application and contact information for program coordinators are available on the Bright Ideas website. The program also has a Facebook page, which features notable projects and regularly updated information.

Since 1994, Bright Ideas has awarded more than $7.9 million for 7,700 projects benefiting 1.4 million students statewide.

The Bright Ideas Education Grant program is part of the electric cooperatives’ ongoing commitment to North Carolina communities. North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives serve more than 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties.

The funds for the Bright Ideas grants sponsored by Wake Electric come from Wake Electric members who agree to round up their electric bill to the nearest whole dollar through the Operation RoundUp program. For example, if the bill is $190.91 – the bill will be rounded up 9 cents to $191.00. These pennies add up to major dollars. Partial funding also comes from the North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation (NCEMC), located in Raleigh, NC. NCEMC consists of a family of corporations formed to support the state’s 26 electric cooperatives.

Wake Electric is a non-profit electric utility serving over 35,000 members in parts of Franklin, Durham, Granville, Johnston, Vance, Nash, and Wake counties.

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