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Foundation for Appalachian Ohio Announces AEP Access to Environmental Education Mini-Grants

20 Grants Awarded Across Appalachian Ohio

The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) is pleased to announce 20 grants from its AEP Access to Environmental Education Fund. Applications were received from K-12 educators and 501(c)(3) community organizations throughout Appalachian Ohio’s 32 counties. The grants were given to projects supporting and encouraging creativity in local environmental education and stewardship activities. These grant recipients will build on the unique assets and strengths of the region’s individual communities. More than $23,000 was awarded across the region.

“AEP Ohio’s partnership has been instrumental to the Foundation’s work from the beginning,” said FAO President and CEO Cara Dingus Brook. “Their leadership in philanthropy, especially through their most recent support to Leadership 100, will shape Appalachian Ohio for years to come as we create opportunities for citizens across our region.”

AEP Ohio has been a longstanding partner to the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio. One of FAO’s first corporate partners, AEP Ohio has been an early and consistent leader in supporting the vision for a regional community foundation serving Appalachian Ohio. With a track record of early support to FAO’s working capital needs in addition to the establishment of the environmental education fund, AEP Ohio became a cornerstone partner in FAO’s groundbreaking Leadership 100 campaign this year.

The working capital campaign was modeled after the way private sector businesses go public to support their expansion goals through the sale of shares of stock to investors. More than 75 individuals, businesses, and organizations became shareholders in Leadership 100 with a gift of $32,000 to help FAO exceed its 100-share goal. In total, FAO raised more than106 shares totaling more than $3.4 million. AEP Ohio’s 10 shares made a significant impact on the success of this first-of-its-kind effort.

“FAO’s mission is designed to create lasting change in Appalachian Ohio and we want to be a part of that,” said Pablo Vegas, president and chief operating officer – AEP Ohio. “Being a part of Leadership 100 and establishing the environmental education fund are two ways we can support their vision of closing the philanthropy gap that has long been a barrier in this region.”

Created by AEP Ohio in 2008, the AEP Access to Environmental Education Fund is an endowment to support environmental education efforts benefiting youth who live in the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio. Funded projects received $500 – $1,500 to provide opportunities for youth to participate in learning experiences tied to local natural resources. As part of their projects, students will also share what they learned with their communities.

This year’s mini-grants will provide regional opportunities on environmental education such as studying invasive species, creating a student garden, exploring climate and water, and visiting the Wilds.

For a complete list of 2014 AEP Access to Environmental Education grant recipients across the region or to learn more about the AEP Access to Environmental Education funding opportunity here.