Donor Spotlight

Donor Spotlight

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

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Giving Tuesday 2023

Watch FAO’s 2023 Giving Tuesday Celebration

FAO observed Giving Tuesday with a virtual event that celebrated the heart of Appalachia: the donors and doers whose love, generosity, and commitment to community are making a difference for the people and places across our region. If you were unable to attend – or if you just want to experience the joy and collective impact of our community of givers again – please watch.

Giving Tuesday Matching Funds

On Giving Tuesday, FAO announced two matching fund opportunities to amplify generosity that is helping our neighbors, building community, and planting seeds of prosperity for our future.

Now through Dec. 31, 2023, FAO is matching 50 cents on every $1 given to endowments at FAO. This match extends to endowments that support local communities, FAO affiliate foundations, nonprofits, and scholarships and can even be used to help start a new endowment fund. A total of $500,000 is available on a first-come, first-served basis, with up to $25,000 available per household.

50 cents for every $1 with a gift to support local communities, nonprofits, or scholarships

FAO is also matching gifts to its Pillars of Prosperity funds with a $2 match for every $1 given.

Triple your generosity with a gift to the Pillars of Prosperity

Our 2023 Award Recipients

Changemaker of the Year Award
Ohio Optometric Association, Ohio Optometric Foundation, Vision To Learn, Ohio Treasurer of State’s office/ResultsOHIO

The Changemaker of the Year Award, given to those who are advancing transformative changes in the region, was presented to the Ohio Optometric Association and Foundation, Vision To Learn, and the Ohio Treasurer of State’s office – the visionaries and collaborators behind FAO’s iSee with Vision To Learn program.

iSee with Vision To Learn provides students with free vision screenings, eye exams, and prescription glasses through mobile vision clinics at schools. To date, the program has enabled more than 5,800 students to receive vision exams, and more than 4,600 students have received glasses.

Each partner brought their own unique gifts to make this program possible.

iSee with Vision To Learn is the first project to successfully complete the Treasurer of State’s ResultsOHIO pay-for-success program, and the Ohio Legislature has appropriated funds to expand mobile vision clinics statewide.

Chaddock Philanthropist of the Year
Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District Board of Directors

The Chaddock Philanthropist of the Year Award, celebrating those who have made an outsized difference in Appalachia through philanthropy, was presented to the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District Board of Directors for its transformative gift and partnership that will forever protect the environment and natural beauty of Appalachian Ohio.

Earlier this year, the district’s board invested $5 million to create the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District Fund for Environmental Stewardship, which is managed by FAO. The new fund will advance the district’s and FAO’s commitment to enhancing conservation efforts throughout the region.

Child of Appalachia Honoree
Dr. John Kopchick

FAO’s newest Child of Appalachia Honoree is Dr. John Kopchick, a distinguished professor of molecular biology at Ohio University.

The Child of Appalachia honor recognizes an individual or individuals whose stories are exceptional examples of what Appalachian Ohioans can achieve and those whose commitment to Appalachian Ohio has paved the way for remarkable achievements by the people who call the region home.

Born into a coal-mining family in western Pennsylvania, Kopchick was called home to Appalachia by opportunity, and he has been building opportunities in the region ever since. One of Ohio University’s first eminent scholars, Kopchick’s ground-breaking discovery of a growth hormone antagonist has made him a world-renowned scientist, has opened doors of opportunity for students in Appalachian Ohio and beyond, and has literally saved lives.

Kopchick’s scientific breakthrough became a life-saving drug used to treat acromegaly, a rare condition caused by excess growth hormone, and shows remarkable promise for the treatment of other diseases, including cancer. He has received numerous awards and has used the royalties he’s earned to create scholarships that are nurturing future scientists and innovators.

Click here to watch the full conversation with Dr. Kopchick.

2023 Giving Tuesday Highlights

Our Giving Tuesday celebration focused on collective impact and the difference this community of givers is making because we’re all working together.

Our Growing Home Fellowship

In 2023, FAO and countless partners invested in our new Growing Home Fellowship, a pilot program to create a wellspring of future leaders for our communities.

One hundred and twenty-one Growing Home Fellowships have been awarded to K-12 professionals between the ages of 18 and 35. Spanning 29 of Appalachian Ohio’s 32 counties, 70 percent of the fellows are classroom educators; the rest work in occupations that serve children, including mental and behavioral health.

Each fellow has committed to live, work, and volunteer in a meaningful role in our region for five years and will begin implementing service projects in 2024. In return, FAO has committed to provide them with a financial stipend, leadership development program, and network of support. The first year of the program saw leaders and visionaries across Ohio and beyond give their time, expertise, and encouragement to our fellows – gifts that will inspire all those committed to our communities.

Read more about the Growing Home Fellowship and watch recordings of all the speakers.

Our commitment to local philanthropy and leaders

Having access to local philanthropy is vital to a community’s health. That’s why FAO has developed a program to assist local leaders in growing their own philanthropy.

In 2022, we celebrated a major milestone by ensuring that every county in Appalachian Ohio is supported by a local community foundation. In 2023, we built on that success by teaming with our affiliate foundations to invite local youth under the age of 18 to apply for grants to support their own projects.

By empowering youth to make a difference in their communities, we are planting seeds for the future. We look to spread the joy of giving and to inspire these future community builders to stay and serve their neighbors and hometowns – and carry forward the love and commitment to home that the leaders of our affiliate foundations show every day.

Our heartfelt gratitude

On Giving Tuesday and every day, we join our grant and scholarship recipients, our Growing Home Fellows, and all who are benefiting from your gifts of time, talent, and treasure in saying a sincere and eternal: “THANK YOU!”

Other Ways to Give

To mail your donation, please write the name of the fund you are giving to in the memo line of your check and mail to:

Foundation for Appalachian Ohio
35 Public Square
Nelsonville, OH 45764

To learn about other ways to give, including gifts of appreciated stock, IRA transfers, and more, call FAO at 740.753.1111.