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Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO)

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Who We Are: The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio’s (FAO) mission is to create opportunities for the citizens and communities of Appalachian Ohio by inspiring and supporting philanthropy. A regional community foundation serving the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio, FAO has supported the creation of more than 600 charitable funds, 11 local community foundation funds and an African American Community Fund. Last year, the Foundation gave more than $5 million in grants and scholarships, while advancing several regional initiatives, including a new partnership to establish a mobile vision clinic to serve 10,000 students with free eye exams and glasses.

What We Do: We create opportunities for people of Appalachian Ohio by encouraging investments of time, talent and treasure. We work across five programmatic areas known as Pillars of Prosperity: Arts & Culture; Community & Economic Development; Education; Environmental Stewardship; and Health & Human Services. Last year, we gave more than 900 grants, made possible through the generous giving of our donors establishing funds and growing our I’m a Child of Appalachia Fund®. We ensured hungry children received meals, including through our Joe Burrow Hunger Relief Fund. We prevented substance use disorders, enhanced public access to outdoor spaces, advanced civics education, and more.

Why We’re Important: Appalachian Ohio is home to innovative, capable leaders who have the passion, commitment and ideas necessary to bring the region to socio-economic parity with the rest of our state and nation. One of the barriers that holds back the success of all of the region’s leaders is the philanthropy gap: Appalachian Ohio accesses 90% less philanthropy per capita than the rest of Ohio. FAO is focused on closing this gap by developing and deploying the philanthropic support our region’s leaders need to achieve sustained transformation in regional quality-of-life.

How We Impact the Community: We achieve our impact by forming partnerships that leverage gifts of time, talent and treasure for maximum results. We stay focused on advancing sustained transformations in the region’s quality-of-life; we work to support donors in making high-impact gifts. In turn, these gifts enable us to support leaders on the frontlines of transformative change. Our support includes grants, fellowships, loans, scholarships, leadership development, networking, data, encouragement, and capacity-building. In places without local community foundations, we incubate local foundations; we are constantly working to scale success from one community to the next. We give grants across all 32 counties in the region.

How You Can Help: You can remove barriers for people of Appalachia by giving to FAO’s I’m a Child of Appalachia® Fund. Your gift creates deep, lasting change by empowering leaders working in five Pillars of Prosperity: Arts & Culture, Community & Economic Development, Education, Environmental Stewardship, and Health & Human Services. Your investment will fuel grants, fellowships, loans, leadership development and capacity-building. As your gift joins with others’ investments of time, talent and treasure, the result will be transforming generational poverty into generations of prosperity. You will generate an abundance of opportunity within Appalachia. Please consider joining us with a gift today.

Connect with Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO)

35 Public Square

Nelsonville, OH 45764


President & CEO: Cara Dingus Brook

Director of Strategic Initiatives: Matt Kaido

Board Chair: Ron Strickmaker


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