Wake Electric and the other 25 co-ops in the network of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have collectively pledged nearly $600,000 to the state’s teachers in Bright Ideas education grant funding for the 2016-17 school year. Educators can submit an application beginning April 1 for grants of up to $3,000 for creative, hands-on classroom projects that would not otherwise be possible. Teachers can learn more about Wake’s teacher grants at www.wemc.com and apply online at www.ncbrightideas.com.

“For more than 20 years, Bright Ideas grants have helped teachers bring innovative ideas to life and get students excited about learning,” said Darnell Alford, grant program administrator “Wake Electric is committed to the communities we serve, and we believe there is no better investment than in the education of our youth.”

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 K-12 public school teachers for innovative projects in any subject. Teachers can apply individually or as a team.

Applications will be accepted April 1 through Sept. 13, but Alford noted it could pay to apply early. Teachers who submit their applications by the early bird deadline of Monday, Aug. 15 will be entered to win a Visa gift card.

To apply, teachers must include a budget, explain the implementation, goals, creative elements 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 and grant-writing tips can be found at www.ncbrightideas.com.

Since 1994, Wake Electric and North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have worked to enhance education by engaging students in meaningful learning projects that encourage creative approaches. In the past two decades, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have contributed more than $10.2 million to teachers for 9,800 projects benefiting more than 2 million students.

“Teachers have amazing, creative ideas to help students succeed, and we never want a lack of resources to limit the implementation of those ideas,” Alford said. “The enthusiasm and dedication of educators never ceases to amaze us, and we are proud to support their efforts.”

Wake Electric is a non-profit electric utility serving 40,500 members in parts of Durham, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Nash, Vance and Wake counties.