Wake Forest, NC— Wake Electric has pledged approximately $50,000 to the state’s teachers in Bright Ideas education grant funding for the 2013-14 school year and began accepting grant applications on April 1.

Grants of up to $3,000 will be awarded directly to educators for creative, hands-on classroom projects that would not otherwise be funded. Teachers can learn more and apply online at www.ncbrightideas.com. All Bright Ideas grants, sponsored by Wake Electric, are made possible by the co-op’s Operation RoundUp program, a program where Wake Electric members agree to round up their electric bill to the nearest whole dollar. These pennies add up to major dollars.

“Bright Ideas grants allow students to build, create and learn by doing, instead of just reading words from textbooks or scribbling out math problems on notebook paper,” said Fred Keller, manager of member and energy services for Wake Electric. “We are so pleased to give teachers new resources to make a difference for students by bringing their creative ideas to life.”

Wake Electric expects to award $50,000 in Bright Ideas grants this year to teachers in Durham, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Nash, Vance and Wake counties. The grants are available to certified K-12 public school teachers for innovative projects in any subject. Teachers can apply individually or as a team and must apply online atwww.ncbrightideas.com.

Applications will be accepted April 1 through September 12, but Wake Electric noted it could pay to apply early. Teachers who submit their applications by the early bird deadline of Friday, Aug. 16 will be entered to win a $500 Visa gift card.

To apply, teachers must include a budget, explain the creative elements, implementation, goals and evaluation of the project, and have approval from the school principal. Applications will be judged in a competitive evaluation process, and judges will be on the lookout for projects that feature innovation and creativity. The application, grant-writing tips and examples of past winning proposals can be found at www.ncbrightideas.com.

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives created the Bright Ideas grant program in 1994 to improve education by engaging students in meaningful learning projects that encourage creative approaches. Since then, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have contributed more than $8.5 million to teachers for 8,300 projects benefiting more than 1.5 million students.

“Year after year, we are amazed by the creativity and dedication that our teachers put into their applications,” said Darnell Alford, business operations specialist for Wake Electric. “We’re proud to continue the co-op’s long tradition of supporting educators and investing in the future of our state.”

Partial funding also comes from the North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation (NCEMC), located in Raleigh, NC. The 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 37,000 members in parts of Franklin, Durham, Granville, Johnston, Vance, Nash, and Wake counties.

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