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Foundation for Appalachian Ohio to Distribute Free Books to Region’s Educators, Service Providers

FAO Receives OMG Books Award from Nonprofit, First Book

Nelsonville, OH – The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) has been selected from among over 100 applications to receive an award of $50,000 for new books and eBooks that will expand FAO’s efforts to connect educators and service-providers with high-quality education materials for the children they serve. First Book, the nonprofit social enterprise focused on equal access to quality education for children in need, awarded the funds as part of its OMG Books Awards: Offering More Great Books to Spark Innovation, a program that will give more than $4.7 million in funding to distribute 1.5 million brand new books and eBooks to children living in low-income communities in 33 U.S. states and territories.

The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio will use its award to expand its existing partnership with First Book, launched in June 2019, by providing thousands of dollars in credits across Appalachian Ohio’s public school districts and other relevant organizations. The credits will allow educators and all those serving children from underresourced communities in the region’s 32 counties to access free, high-quality education materials that the children they serve might otherwise go without through First Book’s online marketplace. All educators have to do to access these credits is complete a free and easy registration with First Book and FAO at, and use the coupon code TreatYoShelves when checking out at the First Book Marketplace.

FAO will also use its award to distribute hundreds of social-emotional learning book kits. The books included in these kits are tied to social-emotional lessons that will enable educators to approach their teaching in a trauma-informed manner while equipping students with the skills and techniques to approach the wide-ranging challenges they face. Educators and service providers interested in accessing the free book series may contact FAO at 740.753.1111 or

“We at FAO are excited to be among the recipients of First Book’s OMG Books Awards,” said Cara Dingus Brook, President & CEO of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio. “Appalachian Ohio’s educators are working day-in and day-out to give our kids opportunities to fall in love with learning and achieve their full potential, yet far too often these educators don’t have access to the high-quality books and resources that play such an important role in making their efforts successful. By connecting educators in our communities with those high-quality books and resources for free, this award will make an important difference for so many of our teachers, and the children they serve.”

Awardees, like FAO, are using the funding to select books and eBooks from the First Book Marketplace (, First Book’s award-winning eCommerce platform, that best meet the needs of the children they serve. Ohio was among 12 states and territories in the second cycle of awards. Additional awards will be granted throughout 2019. First Book estimates the total value of the books distributed will be more than $12 million.

“We know that access to books and eBooks makes a significant difference in a child’s future success,” said Kyle Zimmer, First Book president, CEO, and cofounder. “Children do not thrive in deeply under-resourced environments and too many of the schools and programs have far too little. This deprivation has long-term consequences for the children, their families, their communities and our nation. This could not be more urgent. With the OMG Books Awards, First Book and the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio are investing not only in the future of the kids we’re reaching, but in the overall wellbeing of our nation.”

Access to adequate resources is one of the greatest contributors to educational success in the United States.[1] Research indicates that just the presence of books in the home improves educational outcomes, yet low-income communities across the U.S. are plagued by vast ‘book deserts’—with one community having only a single book per as many as 830 children.[2] Additionally, members of the First Book Network, who exclusively serve kids in need, have indicated that without First Book, the children they serve would have access to very few books, if any at all.[3] (References below).

Eligible educators, librarians, providers, and others serving children in need can sign up to receive resources from First Book outside of OMG Books Awards at For more information, please visit or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio
The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) is a regional community foundation serving the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio. A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Foundation creates opportunities for Appalachian Ohio’s citizens and communities by inspiring and supporting philanthropy. For more information about FAO, visit

About First Book
First Book believes education offers children in need the best path out of poverty. Through sustainable, market-driven models, First Book breaks down barriers to quality education by making new, high-quality books and educational resources, including sports equipment, winter coats, snacks, and more, affordable to its member network of more than 400,000 registered educators who exclusively serve kids in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more learning materials than any other program of its kind: 175 million books and educational resources, worth more than $1.5 billion, reaching more than 5 million children annually across the U.S. and Canada.

First Book also expands the breadth and depth of the education field through a family of social enterprises, including First Book Research & Insights, its proprietary research initiative, and the First Book Accelerator, which brings best-in-class research to the classroom via relevant, usable educator resources.

Eligible educators, librarians, providers, and others serving children in need can sign up at For more information, please visit or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.


[1] Sikora, et al. DOI

[2] Susan B. Neuman, Naomi Moland. “Book Deserts.” Urban Education, 2016. DOI: 10.1177/0042085916654525

[3] First Book Member Survey, 2016