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Eastern Illini awards Empowering Education Grants

Aspen Pirtle, Agricultural Education and FFA Advisor at Tuscola Community High School, has been awarded a $500 Empowering Education Grant from Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative. Pirtle to use the grant money for STEM projects related to wind and solar power. She hopes students can create small wind turbines and solar powered mini cars.

Through Eastern Illini’s Empowering Education Grant Program, 31 deserving teachers were recently awarded $500 grants. The annual grant program is part of a new initiative by Eastern Illini designed to support school districts in the cooperative’s service territory. Empowering Education Grants are intended to help fund projects that will inspire and engage students.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the interest generated and the quality of the submissions received for the Empowering Education Grant Program,” said Mike Wilson, Vice President Member and Community Relations for EIEC. “After careful review, we are excited about the school projects that have been selected to be funded. They cover a wide range of topics from STEM stations to cemetery mapping to better classroom lighting. The submissions were creative, well thought out and covered a wide array of topics.”

The grants were awarded based on several factors, including how many students the project impacts, how innovative the project is, and how the project fosters creative learning experiences for students.

Eastern Illini’s President/CEO Bob Hunzinger noted, “We are excited to be able to help students in our communities. With our service territory being so spread out, we think this grant program is a practical way to reach our entire service territory.”

Hunzinger continued, “School funding is often tenuous. We hope these $500 grants will give teachers the opportunity to engage their students with projects that otherwise wouldn’t be funded.”

The Empowering Education Grant Program seeks to support Eastern Illini’s commitment to education and the 7th Cooperative Principle: Concern for Community. Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative is a member owned not-for-profit business that provides safe and reliable electric service to 10 counties in east central Illinois. EIEC is your connection to powerful solutions. Follow EIEC on Facebook and visit our website at

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