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Jo Ellen Diehl Yeary | Generosity rooted in pride, remembrance, dedication to home

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Ken Taylor and Ohio CAT | Pillars of Prosperity

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Ohio CAT builds more than you think

We all know Ohio CAT is in the business of helping people build things. We’ve seen the trademark CAT® yellow machines on our highways, at construction sites for future schools and hospitals, and where homes are being built for families. Ohio CAT has a long tradition of helping people build something new from the ground up, but Ohio CAT is building more than you think in Appalachian Ohio.

With a $1 million gift to the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, Ohio CAT is creating opportunities not only across 32 counties, but across generations.

A Tradition of Giving Back

ohioCAT_CorporateKen Taylor is the third generation of his family to lead Ohio CAT. As President of Ohio CAT, Ken carries on his family’s business legacy as well as the Taylor family’s tradition of philanthropy.

“There’s always been philanthropy in and around my family,” says Ken. “My grandmother was a volunteer on the Flower Cart at University Hospitals, my mother volunteered her time with children at the Hannah Perkins School supporting, developing, and encouraging the youngest children in our community, and my father served on the board of directors of St. Luke’s Hospital for many years.”

When Ken took the helm at Ohio CAT, he wanted to establish a philosophy behind Ohio CAT’s giving. Having just celebrated its 70th anniversary, Ohio CAT has always been guided by a commitment to being an asset in the communities where it operates.

Ohio CAT has been making a difference through corporate contributions, matching gift programs, and innovative approaches to supporting employees’ volunteer efforts. Putting a guiding philosophy in place would help steer Ohio CAT’s donations of time, funds, and talent in ways that would make an even bigger difference across their sales and service distribution area.

P1000117While Appalachian Ohio is home to many natural assets, it lags the rest of the state in philanthropic assets. In our region of 32 counties, there are $762 in philanthropic dollars supporting each person and child with grants, scholarships, and other opportunities. In the rest of the state, that number is over $7,000 per person. These are the dollars that support nonprofits, schools, and communities in addressing challenges and pursuing opportunities. The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio was created in 1998 to change this. A regional community foundation focused on creating opportunities for Appalachian Ohio’s citizens and communities, the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio believes it is the leadership call of this generation to overcome the region’s philanthropy gap by growing the permanent, philanthropic resources our communities and citizens need.

With Ohio CAT’s support, Appalachian Ohio is now closer than ever before. That’s because this $1 million gift is not simply one gift to one organization. It is a gift for future generations across Appalachian Ohio.

“Ohio CAT’s gift to FAO is making a difference in Appalachian Ohio today, but it will also make a difference for many years to come,” shared Taylor. “It’s important to me that Ohio CAT be an asset in our communities now, but that we do so in ways that will last.”

In 2014, the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio took a significant step towards making this possible. Through a first-of-its-kind IPO – Initial Philanthropic Offering – FAO was able to launch a campaign to build $100 million in new philanthropy for Appalachian Ohio over the next 15 years. And Ohio CAT was a leader in this vision.

Recognizing the opportunity for the region, Ohio CAT offered an early matching challenge of 15 “shares,” equivalent to $500,000, to spark an influx of gifts and help FAO reach the 100 shares needed to support FAO’s fundraising and administrative costs over the coming five years while we launch the Pillars of Prosperity and work locally with communities.

The Ohio CAT Challenge

Because of FAO’s successful IPO, the Foundation was able to launch five new, regional grantmaking endowments focused on five areas essential to growing and sustaining a prosperous Appalachian Ohio. As these funds grow, nonprofits, communities, schools, and local leaders will have the support they need to make a difference in:

PillarsGraphicOhio CAT understood the vision for these funds immediately and that’s where the second half of Ohio CAT’s $1 million gift comes in. Through a matching challenge grant of $500,000, gifts to the Pillar funds will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000 per Pillar. The Education Pillar already met its match! The question now is which Pillar will reach $100,000 next and will you help it get there?

Groundbreaking Change

Appalachian Ohio is known for its generous and giving spirit. It also struggles with a philanthropy gap. Ohio CAT is working through FAO to change that.

So the next time you see that CAT® yellow machine, remember, it’s building more than you think.