Cara Dingus BrookPresident & CEO
Cara first discovered community foundations and philanthropy as an intern at the Foundation. As soon as she saw the impact philanthropy could make in creating access to opportunities, she was hooked.
Growing up in Lawrence County, Cara often recognized the need for more resources and support. When she became the Foundation’s President and CEO in 2007, Cara understood the role the Foundation could play in bringing more opportunities to the people of Appalachian Ohio. Under her leadership, the Foundation has:
- Made great strides in closing the region’s philanthropic gap by tripling FAO’s assets;
- Generated more than $10 million in funding to advance entrepreneurial and educational developments in the region;
- Led the formation and growth of six local community foundation efforts; and
- Incubated two needed organizations for the region – the Ohio Appalachian Business Council (OABC), a business roundtable advancing Appalachian Ohio’s prosperity; and the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth, a 501(c)(3) regional economic development organization working to increase jobs and capital investment in Appalachian Ohio.
Cara has a long track record of service to the region. Before joining the Foundation, she was the Southeast Ohio District Representative for United States Senator George V. Voinovich and manager of Appalachian Ohio Giving, a multi-sector partnership promoting philanthropy as a community and economic development tool. Ohio University, Cara’s alma mater where she received a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in English, has recognized her commitment to and accomplishments in Appalachian Ohio and philanthropy repeatedly. Cara received the Appalachian New Economy Partnership Award for Regional Economic Development from the Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs in 2010 and the Young Alumni “Spirit” Award from Ohio University’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2011, recognizing her public service contributions. She is also a graduate of the Jo Ann Davidson Leadership Institute and received Philanthropy Ohio’s Emerging Philanthropist Award in 2013. Now a resident of Logan where she lives with her husband, Dominick, Cara is a cancer survivor, an avid traveler, a hiker, a reader, and a church deacon.
Martin AdamChief Financial & Administrative Officer
Martin Adam joined FAO in November 2015 with four decades of accounting and financial experience throughout Appalachian Ohio communities. He holds designations as a MBA, CPA, and CFE. Most recently, Martin was a manager with JC & Company in Lancaster, Ohio. This role introduced him to the Foundation while performing audit and other accounting work for FAO.
As Chief Financial & Administrative Officer, Martin oversees the financial operations and administrative functions of the Foundation, including timely, accurate, and complete accounting practices to steward and report the Foundation’s assets; managing the tactical aspects of the Foundation including human resources, information technology, and the maintenance and renovation of the Foundation’s physical office space; and supporting the use of metrics to drive FAO’s growth in philanthropic assets for transformational advancements in the region’s quality of life.
A resident of New Lexington in Perry County with his wife, Martin is active in his local community and the communities where he works. He is a member and treasurer of the First United Methodist Church and Masonic Lodge in New Lexington. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his young grandson.
Lori BoegershausenProgram Assistant
Lori joined the Foundation in February 2020 to support FAO’s scholarship program. Scholarships were vital in allowing Lori to pursue higher education, and she obtained her Bachelor’s degree at Florida Gulf Coast University. She is now excited to give back by helping students access education and achieve their dreams through scholarships.
Originally from Florida, Lori received her Master’s degree in International Development with a concentration in social science from Ohio University. Lori was captivated by the beauty of southeastern Ohio and decided to make the region her home after graduation.
Prior to her time at Ohio University, Lori served as a member on the National Standards Committee for the Real Food Challenge and helped establish fair trade food purchasing standards currently in use at over 40 universities across the United States. As a 2016 Fulbright ETA recipient, Lori assisted English courses at Artland Gymnasium in Quakenbrück, Germany and worked with immigrants at the Youth Integration Center.
Lori resides in Athens, where she spends her free time volunteering, hiking, creating jewelry, watching German films, and reading thrilling mystery novels.
Courtney GiffinAccounting Clerk
A Nelsonville native, Courtney first met the Foundation while working with us at Peoples Bank. As the Foundation grew and needed additional financial support, Courtney joined the team because she felt this was an opportunity to help make a difference in her community. With more than 11 years in banking, accounting, lending, and office management, Courtney’s experience in the financial industry helps ensure the funds under FAO’s management become a source of support for generations to come.
Daniel KingtonCommunications and Programs Associate
Daniel joined the Foundation in September, 2018 to support FAO’s communications and grantmaking efforts. Continuing in the footsteps of his mother, uncle and brother, Daniel attended Ohio University and graduated in the spring of 2018 with a bachelor’s in English literature and a certificate in creative writing. While studying at Ohio University, Daniel spent three years working as a communications intern at the George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, where he developed a passion for telling the stories of the Appalachian Ohio region — with an eye toward helping the region’s environment, people and organizations prosper. He looks forward to maintaining a commitment to that mission at FAO.
Daniel resides in Athens, where he spends his free time experiencing more of the region through hiking, kayaking, swimming and biking. He also enjoys reading and creative writing.
Tracy MannDirector of Professional Advisor Services
Tracy Mann, a FAO staff member from 2009 to 2016, rejoined the Foundation in April 2018. In addition to her experiences with FAO donors, programs and projects, she brings knowledge from her positions held in the nonprofit, grant writing and education fields.
Tracy is from Lawrence County, Ohio where she gained her Bachelor’s Degree at Ohio University Southern and has lived in Logan since 2001. She is very passionate about making a difference for current and future citizens of the region.
Lesa McDanielGift Planning Associate
Lesa joined the FAO staff as a Gift Planning Associate in March 2016. After a career in career-technical education, she was looking for a way to give back to the region while still making a difference in people’s lives. Her philosophy as a teacher was, “If I make a difference in just one student’s life, I have accomplished my goal as an educator.”
In her role as Gift Planning Associate, Lesa supports the Gift Planning team in their efforts to help citizens throughout the region give to what’s closest to their hearts.
Lesa and her husband are deeply rooted in Athens County. They are the parents of three children and a daughter-in-law, all children of Appalachia. Lesa earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Ohio University, a tradition that continues with her youngest son who will be the sixth Bobcat in the family to complete a degree at Ohio University. All are big Bobcat sports fans, and as often as they can, enjoy simply spending time together. Lesa loves reading, working in the yard, all things sports related, chocolate, and her involvement with her church and church family.
Phyllis joined the Foundation because of our mission and the opportunity to play a small part in making a difference in people’s lives. Since joining the FAO in 2009, her passion for the region continues to grow.
As the Foundation’s Controller, Phyllis manages FAO’s finances, which means she cares for the resources our donors, nonprofits, and communities entrust to the Foundation for the future. With more than 20 years of experience in managing administrative and financial services, Phyllis has CPS and CAP certifications and is past President of the Athens Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals.
Phyllis lives with her husband in Athens. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and being creative in many ways, especially crafty ones.
Kelly MormanDirector of Local Impact
Kelly joined the Foundation in June 2015 to support FAO’s stewardship efforts. Kelly helps to support grantmaking and donor services, as well as assist on a variety of projects.
From her childhood in the farmland of north central Ohio and her undergraduate years on the campus of Ohio Northern University, to her time as a high school Spanish teacher in the Arkansas Delta, Kelly has always been passionate about the experiences and needs of rural citizens. Her passion for rural problem solving led her to pursue a Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University. Prior to coming to the Foundation, Kelly supported resource development efforts for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington, Indiana.
A proud Ohio native, Kelly is excited to return home to tell the diverse stories of Appalachian Ohioans. Now residing in Nelsonville, she spends her free time experiencing the beauty of Appalachian Ohio through the lens of her camera, a perch on a kayak, and strolling through distinctive downtowns to find the region’s best hidden gems.
Maureen SharkeyExecutive Assistant & Associate Secretary of the Board
Not long after retiring from The Ohio State University and moving to Athens, Maureen was introduced to the Foundation through a friend and donor. She was interested in devoting her time to a new and meaningful challenge and found FAO to be a great opportunity to learn more about the region and to be able to give back in a small way.
Maureen received her bachelor’s degree in English from The Ohio State University and spent her career at her alma mater. She initially worked in human resources and then served the university’s Board of Trustees for twenty-five years as the Associate Secretary of the Board.
Since joining FAO in 2010, Maureen has been supporting the Foundation’s president & CEO, serving as the liaison to the board of trustees, coordinating the scholarship program and the development team’s major gifts program. As she hoped, working with the Foundation has surpassed her expectations and she is encouraged by its progress and potential.
Holly SheltonChief of Staff
Holly leads the Foundation’s work to support the region’s communities and citizens in meeting their charitable dreams. And this is at the heart of why she joined the Foundation in the first place. An Ohio University bobcat, Holly came on board in December 2007 to support the region in creating permanent resources that would make a lasting difference.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Holly worked for United States Senator George V. Voinovich in his southeast Ohio office and gained a deep knowledge of the communities in our region. This has been a great asset to the Foundation as Holly supports local communities in growing permanent resources, and works with individuals and nonprofits to establish new funds or grow existing funds. Holly especially enjoys when she can work with individuals looking to establish a named fund in honor of a loved one or a nonprofit considering an endowment fund to provide a new source of flexible funding.
Sherri SimonsDirector of Outreach
Sherri joined the Foundation in October 2018 to support FAO’s outreach and fundraising efforts in Perry, Morgan, and Guernsey counties. Sherri is excited to work with and develop existing donors as well as cultivate new relationships.
Raised in Hemlock, a small town in Perry County, Sherri is a lifelong Child of Appalachia and is passionate about the region in which she grew up.
Sherri is married, has four daughters, and resides in Logan. She graduated from Rio Grande College with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, with emphasis in Public Relations. She has over 10 years of experience in sales and marketing as well as over 20 years teaching experience.
Sherri loves all things outdoors, sports of any kind, and spending time with her family.
Emily VigueProgram Coordinator
Emily Vigue joined the Foundation as Programs Coordinator in July 2019 after graduating from Marietta College with degrees in political science and international leadership studies. While at Marietta, Emily enjoyed connecting with residents of Appalachia through her work as student body president and her position on a local nonprofit board. Emily became interested in the unique history of Appalachia after serving as an Americorps Intern in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. While there she participated in emergency FEMA disaster relief during the 2016 floods that affected the region.
Raised in Junction City in Perry County, Emily now resides in Lancaster and spends her free time reading, gardening, and visiting friends. She is excited to be with the Foundation to give back to the region that has given her so much.
Megan WanczykVice President of Communications and Programs
After promoting theater in Boston and volunteering for charities like Make-A-Wish on the side, Megan decided to take her experience to the nonprofit field full-time. Having earned her master’s in public administration at Ohio University, Megan joined the Foundation’s team in 2009.
At FAO, Megan leads the Foundation’s communications and programs strategy, working with community partners across the region and helping the Foundation and its funds tell their stories. She also works with the I’m a Child of Appalachia Network, a community of donors investing in the region’s future by supporting FAO. A unique effort, the Network has been promoting philanthropy and prompting change across our area since its start in 2005.
Megan, who is also a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, lives with her husband and two children in Athens. And though she will always have a love for the bright lights on the marquee, coming to FAO has given Megan a chance to help those who want to make Appalachian Ohio shine brighter.