Bright Ideas

The Palmetto Electric Trust and Palmetto Electric Cooperative offers Bright Ideas, a grant program that provides funding for innovative classroom-based education projects. Since Palmetto Electric launched the program in 2004, area teachers in Hampton, Jasper and southern Beaufort counties have received over $603,000 in grants.

Palmetto Electric Cooperative and Palmetto Electric Trust awarded $44,875 in Bright Ideas grants to 50 deserving teachers during a virtual Zoom presentation on October 28. Because of COVID precautions, the cooperative’s Bright Ideas Prize Team was not able to surprise the winning teachers in the classrooms.  Instead, representatives from the Cooperative and the Trust hosted a virtual Zoom presentation for all teacher applicants, principals and superintendents.

Earlier this year, teachers from southern Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties submitted proposals for innovative classroom projects.  The grants are intended to fund projects outside normal school funding. Teachers in grades K–12 from schools in our three-county service area can apply. A school may submit more than one application, but a teacher is limited to one application per school year. Palmetto Electric Trust is supported by funds from Operation Round Up®, a program in which the Cooperative’s members round their electric bill up to the nearest whole dollar. The program is a true example of how small change…changes lives.

Additional funding is provided by Palmetto Electric’s Million Dollar Hole-In-One Shootout and WIRE (Women Involved in Rural Electrification).  If you have any questions about the grant program or application procedures, please contact your local Palmetto Electric office or e-mail us at

Our 2020 winners include:


Bluffton Middle School—$955, Heidi McAllister.

Cross Schools – $520, Heather Brougham-Cook; $1,000, Pam Donahue; $675, Amanda Kropiewnicki; $1,000, Karen Penale; $900, Ashley Sanders; $990, Dr. Nancy Ungvarsky.

Hilton Head Island High School – $1,000, Tarken K. Best; $1,000, Matthew Pheiffer; $1,000, John Wyatt.

Hilton Head Island Middle School – $330, Kelley Duffy; $920, Irma Rameizl.

Hilton Head Preparatory – $800, Louise Goodman; $675, Bethany Ramseur.

May River Montessori – $1,000, Sari Kandel.

Okatie Elementary School:  $1,000, Siobhan McCann.

St. Francis Catholic School – $745, Lesley Brewster.



Ben Hazel Primary School – $850, Anita Turner Padgett; $1,000, Michelle H. Purdy.

Hampton Elementary School – $1,000, Susie Laffitte.

Patrick Henry Academy – $1,000, Nicole Barnes; $800, Sarah Padget; $1,000 Tricia Stanley.

Wade Hampton High School – $735, Gangadhar Padigela.



Hardeeville Elementary/Jasper County Alternative Program – $975, Tawanna Chatman.

Hardeeville-Ridgeland Middle School – $600, Christina J. Randall.

Polaris Tech Charter School – $980, Kirsten Palmer.

Ridgeland Elementary School – $900, Kenneth M. Fisher.

Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School/Jasper Advanced Career and Technology Center – $995, Terry Grant-Robinson.

Royal Live Oaks Academy – $930, Bethanne Barner; $475, Brian Barry; $995, Anne Brown; $1,000, Allison Butler-Carson; $1,000, Robin Connolly; $1,000, Gregg Dixon; $1,000, Kodwo Dowell; $1,000, Elizabeth Gunderson; $980, Ced’Rica Johnson; $1,000, Angela Occasion; $1,000, Origaima Padilla; $1,000, Donald Pearson; $990, Romeo Ranera; $1,000, Angela Richardson; $1,000, Christopher Smith.

Step of Faith Christian Academy – $860, Karen Creech; $1,000, Alisha Herlong; $1,000, Savannah Womble.

Thomas Heyward Academy – $1,000, Al Boni; $300, Ben Herod; $1,000, Kandi Hewlett.