Bright Ideas grants provide funding for innovative, classroom-based projects that might otherwise not be possible.
The 2021 grant application deadline is Aug. 31. Our Prize Team will visit local schools in early October to award grants.
About the Program
At Coastal Electric Cooperative, we believe there is no more important investment than in our community’s youth. That’s why for almost 20 years, we have offered Bright Ideas education grants to teachers in K-12 classrooms across our electric service territory. Since 2002, we have awarded more than $320,000 to local teachers toward innovative, classroom-based projects.
Bright Ideas grants give teachers the power to put their creative teaching ideas into action.
Educators may apply as individuals or as a team for the grants, which are awarded in a competitive evaluation process by Coastal Electric Cooperative’s Bright Ideas Prize Team.
Please read all the information below before applying.
Please share with other K-12 educators who may qualify.
How will I know if I have been awarded a grant?
Winners will not be notified in advance. The Bright Ideas Prize Team will be making its rounds to winning schools in early October. The Team will come to your school with cameras rolling, balloon bouquets, goodie bags and a big check. We’ll ask your school principal to take us to your room, or have you meet us outside.
If a teacher leaves a school, are the supplies purchased with a Bright Ideas grant his/hers or do they belong to the school?
Should a winning teacher leave a school, the supplies and/or equipment purchased with a Bright Ideas grant are property of the school. Since Bright Ideas grants are awarded based on innovation and providing ongoing benefits to students, items bought with grant funding must be left at the school from which the grant originated.
Can I make changes to the application after I submit it?
No. Proofread carefully — changes to the application cannot be made once application has been submitted.
What if I apply late? Can I have an extension?
Late applications will not be considered. Deadline for online submittal is midnight on August 31, 2021.
How can I confirm you received my application?
Call Liz Padgett at Coastal Electric Cooperative at (912) 880-4029 if you do not receive a verification e-mail after submitting your application.
Is there a limited amount for each grant?
The maximum Bright Ideas grant that can be award to any one teacher or team is $2,000.
Watch this past Bright Ideas Prize Team video to get ideas for your classroom grant.
Grant Program Details
To be considered for a Bright Ideas grant, proposed projects must:
- Directly involve students.
- Seek to achieve clearly defined goals and learning objectives.
- Use innovative and creative teaching methods.
- Involve teamwork.
- Provide ongoing benefits to students.
- Feature measurable results that can be evaluated upon completion.
- Please be aware that Bright Ideas funding cannot be used for field trips or to fund travel expenses/fees for guests or speakers visiting your school. Requests for salaries or professional development will be denied.
- If you are requesting technology or equipment for your classroom, be sure you outline an innovative project idea in which the technology or equipment will be used instead of just asking for the item. Don’t just ask for iPads, tablets or cameras.
- When applying, teachers should only ask for the amount they need to successfully administer a project. Applications must include accurate estimated costs for the project and show exactly how money will be spent in the budget portion of the application.
- Applicant(s) must be a teacher in one of the following K-12 schools:
- Bryan County
- Dr. George Washington Carver Middle School
- Frances Meeks Elementary School
- McAllister Elementary School
- Richmond Hill High School
- Richmond Hill Middle School
- Richmond Hill Elementary School
- Richmond Hill Primary School
- Liberty County
- Bradwell Institute
- Button Gwinnett Elementary School
- First Preparatory Christian Academy
- Frank Long Elementary School
- Joseph Martin Elementary School
- Lewis Frazier Middle School
- Liberty College and Career Academy
- Liberty County High School
- Liberty County Elementary School
- Lyman Hall Elementary School
- Midway Middle School
- Snelson Golden Middle School
- Taylors Creek Elementary School
- Waldo Pafford Elementary School
- McIntosh County
- McIntosh County Academy
- McIntosh County Middle School
- Oak Grove Intermediate School
- Todd-Grant Elementary School
- Bryan County
- The school principal must review and approve the proposal.
- If a grant is awarded:
- the recipient is asked to submit a video update about the grant and how it was used to receive an additional $250 for the classroom.
- the applicant and team members grant Coastal Electric the right to use their name, photo and information about the grant in publicity.
The Bright Ideas education grant program is funded by the members of Coastal Electric Cooperative who participate in Operation RoundUp®, a voluntary program where members allow their electric bill to be rounded up the the next whole dollar. Those nickels and dimes are turned over to the Coastal Electric Cooperative Foundation which oversees the fund. The Foundation uses the money to support needs in the community related to food, health, shelter, safety and education.
The maximum Bright Ideas grant that can be awarded to any one teacher or team is $2,000.
In some cases, when applicable, partial funding of a project may be awarded.
- Do your research. Make sure your grant matches your selection criteria. Bright Ideas grants are not for simply purchasing school supplies. We’re looking for creativity and innovation. Check previous year awards to gain a better understanding of what they have funded in the past.
- Gather your facts. Grants are not awarded on goodwill alone. Justify your needs and the strength of your proposed project through data and research citations whenever possible.
- Get the necessary approvals. Make sure your principal is aware and approves of the project and will provide support as needed.
- Avoid jargon. Always spell out acronyms and explain terms that non-educators may not understand (STEM, SST, SIP, EC, BED).
- Be compelling, but don’t overstate your case. Make sure the readers understand your needs and that you have the capacity to address those needs through the proposed project.
- Keep it simple. Grant reviewers usually read stacks of proposals in a short amount of time. Don’t overwhelm them with confusing text or graphics. Revise and edit, revise and edit, repeat. Know that your first draft will not be the last. Take the time to develop the idea into a comprehensive project plan.
- Have an outsider proof your work. Even if you can not put together a formal grant writing team, find a ‘critical friend’ to review your work and provide suggestions.
- Always review guidelines one more time. Make sure you follow the recommended guidelines exactly (word limits, budget information, etc.).
- Good grant writing = Good writing. Writing for grants is very similar to writing any project plan. With the appropriate time and effort, you can be successful!
About the Foundation
The Coastal Electric Cooperative Foundation’s mission is to assist with the food, health, safety, education and shelter needs of citizens in counties served by Coastal Electric Cooperative.
The Foundation’s main funding is from Operation Round Up, a volunteer program through which members allow their electric bills to be rounded up to the next whole dollar and invested back into the community.
Since its creation in 1993, the Foundation has awarded grants in excess of $1.7 million to numerous charities, organizations and individuals. In 2019 alone, the Foundation awarded over $33,000 in Bright Ideas grants to local teachers to fund their innovative classroom projects.