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Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville award 20 grants

Funding supports organizations serving youth

Nelsonville, OH – Twenty projects that address the social, economic, educational and health challenges faced by young people in Appalachian Ohio are receiving more than $350,000 through the Investing in Youth Resiliency program, funded by the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) in partnership with the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville.

“At FAO, we have long known there is no greater investment we could make than in the young people of our region,” said Cara Dingus Brook, FAO president and CEO. “This philosophy is why we created the I’m a Child of Appalachia® campaign 15 years ago, and it’s why we continue to emphasize opportunities for youth today through programs like Investing in Youth Resiliency.” 

Given the critical role of childhood development on lifelong well-being, FAO, in partnership with the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville, invited proposals to support nonprofit and public organizations dedicated to building resilience and increasing protective factors for youth in our region.

“It is critical to ensure young people have access to programs and services that promote resiliency and build skills to support their well-being today and far into the future,” said Megan Wanczyk, director of programs at the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville. “We are grateful for FAO’s partnership in supporting these organizations that serve the region’s young people.”

Grant recipients for 2022 include:

  • Athens Photographic Project to expand an expressive photography program for youth in the region who are in treatment for behavioral health disorders
  • Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities to support youth and their families through the Behavioral Health Network Alliance Youth in Crisis Program, which provides respite and targeted interventions for young people across Belmont, Harrison and Noble counties
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio to support programming at Camp Oty’Okwa, serving youth from across the region
  • Breaking Free Therapeutic Riding Center to support equine-assisted learning programs for young people, serving Guernsey and Muskingum counties
  • The Carol Hammond Children’s Theatre to expand the summer arts camp, serving Morgan County
  • Community Food Initiatives, in collaboration with The Hive of Nelsonville, to develop a program engaging youth in therapeutic gardening, serving Athens County
  • Crooksville Exempted Village Schools to launch a workforce development program for district high school students in Perry County, in partnership with Hocking College
  • Ely Chapman Education Foundation to support the Ready for Success afterschool program in implementing The Leader in Me curriculum, serving Washington County
  • French Art Colony to expand summer youth programs including dance classes and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) camps, serving Gallia, Meigs, Vinton and Jackson counties
  • Holmes Center for the Arts to purchase equipment needed to launch DAY (Digital Arts for Youth) program, serving Holmes County
  • Hopewell Health Centers to expand summer programs for children with behavioral health disorders, serving Jackson, Meigs, Vinton and Washington counties
  • Kent State University Foundation to support Rising Scholars, providing students who have promising academic ability with peer mentors and other support to reach their full potential, serving Ashtabula, Carroll, Columbiana, Trumbull and Tuscarawas counties
  • Nelsonville-York City Schools National Honor Society to support a self-defense and empowerment program for high school students, serving Athens County
  • Noble Learning Center to build culturally relevant social skills through the Everyone Matters program, helping students succeed post-high school, serving Noble County
  • Rural Action to support paid internships for high school students from Athens, Belmont, Guernsey, Hocking and Meigs counties
  • Shawnee Family Health Center to support summer programing for youth impacted by trauma through the Building Resiliency in Appalachian Youth program, serving Adams, Lawrence and Scioto counties
  • Sojourners Care Network to support programming to strengthen communication skills and foster successful social connections through the Athens Youth Resiliency Center
  • Somerset Artists’ Cooperative to support the Clay Academy program for justice-involved youth in Perry County
  • Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program to support participation in Rising Appalachia summer camps by children whose parents are engaged in New Leaf Justice Enterprises and to provide camp counselors with training in trauma-informed care and social-emotional learning, serving Athens, Hocking, Perry, Morgan and Meigs counties
  • Tecumseh Theater to support leadership development programming through social emotional learning for teenagers in Perry County

Public and nonprofit organizations in the 32 Appalachian Ohio counties were eligible to apply for grants for projects focused on building resiliency for youth, from preschool age through age 18. Priority was given to organizations focused on young people who experience risk factors that jeopardize their ability to thrive and achieve. 

Through the I’m a Child of Appalachia® Fund, FAO creates opportunities across five programmatic areas known as Pillars of Prosperity, which are essential to generating and sustaining transformative change in Appalachian Ohio. The five Pillars are Health & Human Services; Arts & Culture; Community & Economic Development; Education; and Environmental Stewardship. 

To learn more about opportunities through the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, contact FAO at or 740-753-1111.

The mission of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville (the Foundation) is to improve the health and quality of life in the community through education, research, and service consistent with our osteopathic heritage. The Foundation advances this mission through strategic partnerships, multi-year funding commitments, funding collaborations and significant investments in southeastern Ohio. More information about the Foundation is available at