French Broad began sponsoring the Bright Ideas grant program with the 1999-2000 school year. FBEMC is one of 26 North Carolina electric cooperatives which fund the Bright Ideas Education Grant Program each year. Teachers in public schools located in and near the cooperative’s service territory can learn about the program and apply online at Grants up to $3,000 are available. Grant applications for the 2019-2020 school year will be accepted April 1 – September 13th. All teachers who submit their applications by the early bird deadline of August 15th will also be entered into a drawing for a Visa gift card.

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. Since 1994, FBEMC 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.

Supporting Teachers Is Supporting The Future

Along with providing electric service to members, North Carolina’s rural electric cooperatives believe supporting teachers – and their bright ideas – is a vital part of their mission to improve the lives of the more than 2.5 million people they serve in 93 counties throughout the state.

NC teachers are professionals who consistently and creatively inspire our state’s youth, usually stretching shoestring budgets or spending from their own pockets as they educate. In addition to instructing their students in academics, teachers serve as role models, boost self esteem, teach individual and community values, coach sports, lead clubs and stress the importance of education and its grounding effect on their future life’s work.

Sam Hutchins with French Broad EMC will personally contact the principals of each of the co-op’s eligible schools at the beginning of the each school year with complete information about this opportunity. To learn more about the Bright Ideas program please use the info below, visit or send an e-mail to