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Donor Spotlight

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

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Dale Hileman Legacy Fund

2024 Grant Application:

Grant applications for 2024 funding closed March 12, 2024. Click here to read about our 2024 grant recipients.

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The Dale Hileman Legacy Fund promotes economic development and growth, a cause that was close to Mr. Hileman’s heart.

Mr. Hileman passed away in February 2015 after a lifetime of service to eastern Ohio. Mr. Hileman was a native of Columbiana County and worked for Columbia Gas of Ohio for 40 years, serving Carrollton, Jackson, and Cambridge in Appalachian Ohio. After his retirement, he remained committed to improving quality of life and steadfastly promoting his community of Cambridge in Guernsey County, where he shared his final years with his wife, Evelyn.

Known to take an active role in whatever community he called home, Mr. Hileman is described as a humble man who had a great gift for networking to bring people together for the greater good, while remaining behind the scenes and away from public praise or recognition.

The Fund was founded with the support of the Eastern Ohio Development Alliance (EODA), an organization that Mr. Hileman helped found to promote economic growth and development in eastern Ohio. Counties served by EODA and grants from the Dale Hileman Legacy Fund include Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Coshocton, Guernsey, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Tuscarawas, and Washington.

Previous grant awards include:

Cambridge Main Street in Guernsey County received funding to expand its “Even Bigfoot Shops Downtown” marketing campaign. The nonprofit organization serves as an advocate and promoter for the small businesses in downtown Cambridge.

The Ohio Valley Youth Network, serving Columbiana, Harrison, and Jefferson counties, received funding for its Sycamore Young Entrepreneurs Program. The program is designed to equip fifth- through 12th-grade students with financial literacy knowledge and inspire them to start their own businesses.

The Athens-Meigs Educational Service Center received a grant for its Project RISE program to provide paid summer internships to high school students in Athens, Meigs, and Perry counties. The internship program is designed to help area youth build the skills needed for success.

The Tuscarawas County Economic Development Corporation in Tuscarawas County received funding to support the purchase of Icehouse curriculum and educational resources for 15 local entrepreneurs. This organization aims to promote economic development through job creation by supporting small, local businesses.

BRITE Energy Innovators received funding to provide outreach and technical assistance to local companies in Columbiana, Carroll, Belmont, Jefferson, and Harrison counties. Technical assistance will leverage the Energy Storage Startup project by connecting Ohio-based energy storage manufacturers and innovators to burgeoning opportunities in “Voltage Valley,” a reuse of the former Lordstown facility.

The Village of Chauncey in Athens County received funding to support the building and instillation of a message board connected to a Baileys Trail system trailhead to feature listings for businesses, lodging, emergency contacts, park rules, and event flyers. This newly constructed trail will be the largest continuous mountain bike trail east of the Mississippi. An information center will allow the Village of Chauncey to create visibility and economic support for local businesses.

The Southern Perry Incubation Center for Entrepreneurs (SPICE) in Perry County received $900 to support entrepreneurs in Perry County who are struggling due to COVID-19. SPICE is an economic development organization that provides micro loans to individuals earning low to moderate income who cannot secure a bank loan to start a small business or expand an existing business in Perry County. Since many clients are currently unable to meet their loan obligations due to the pandemic, this grant allows SPICE to offer loan deferments to clients.

Tuscarawas Valley Heritage Inc. received $1,000 to create marketing videos promoting career opportunities in Tuscarawas County. The social media and web campaign, #livetusc, is a collaborative project of the Tuscarawas County Economic Development Corporation and the Tuscarawas County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The campaign strives to reach and positively influence young people to stay in or come to Tuscarawas County to live, work, and play.

In 2019, the Fund supported the United Way of Guernsey, Monroe, and Noble Counties and their Young Professionals Program. The program connected students in the Rolling Hills and Cambridge City school districts with professionals across a variety of fields and who are under the age of 40. The program exposed students to careers that would allow them to make a great living in their local community.

The Fund announced its inaugural, competitive grant round in 2020.