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

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The Jenco Foundation Fund

Celebrating the Legacy of Father Martin Jenco

The Jenco Foundation Fund was established at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) to recognize unsung heroes who, outside of their paid positions, give their time, talent and passion in ways that contribute to quality of life in Appalachian Ohio. The Jenco Awards, which began in 2002, uphold the legacy of Father Lawrence Martin Jenco, who dedicated his life to the service of others.

The Jenco Foundation Fund celebrates people of all ages who, like Father Lawrence Martin Jenco, have made a difference in their communities through service and visionary leadership – people who exemplify the difference we can all make when we give time, talent and passion to helping our neighbors and building community. Established to continue the work of the Jenco Foundation, the Fund offers individual achievement awards to recognize visionary leaders and volunteers who by direct, person-to-person action have worked to increase the dignity and sense of worth of individuals in Appalachian Ohio through creative problem-solving. The award is open to people of all ages serving their communities.

2024 Jenco Award Nominations

Nominations for the 2024 Jenco Awards closed on June 3, 2024. 

2023 Jenco Recipients

  • Monica Batteiger of Zanesville is a community leader, advocate and activist who has given tirelessly and selflessly to help individuals impacted by substance use disorders and to improve access to recovery services. She is a co-founder of Drug Free Muskingum, serves as the family advocate at the Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department and has spearheaded many events and the creation of resources that are bringing community together in a movement to end addiction.
  • Sara Gilfert of Athens was an artist, educator and innovator who founded the Paper Circle in Nelsonville, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to the preservation, advancement and celebration of paper and book arts. Through the Paper Circle, she created life-affirming opportunities for artists to exhibit and teach, programs that expose children to the joy of art, and innovations in the field of papermaking that have resulted in a worldwide following.
  • Andrea “Andy” Jones of Rockbridge is a consummate volunteer whose service includes the Athens-Hocking Recycling Center Board, Hocking County Board of Health, Logan Tree Commission, Logan in Bloom, Hocking County Soil & Water Conservation District, Bishop Educational Gardens and more. She is the driving force behind many Hocking County initiatives aimed at environmental education, protection and community involvement, including the zero-waste efforts at Lilyfest, the Monarch Waystation at the Hocking Hills Tourism Association Welcome Center and the Butterfly Trail.
  • Ben Nease is the mayor of Middleport and owner and lead instructor of Bitanga’s Martial Arts Center, where his training includes giving back to the community. Since 2017, he and his students have been bringing together and strengthening their local community through the annual Bitanga Break-A-Thon, which has raised more than $235,000 to support everything from improvements to the Meigs County Council on Aging’s Blakeslee Center to local high school band programs and heart screenings for local youth.
  • Lacey Rogers of Athens is a counselor, implicit bias trainer, consultant and social justice activist dedicated to nurturing safe and inclusive communities for all people. She is the city of Athens’ first diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility training coordinator. Her service includes leading Empowering Women of Ohio, various positions with United Campus Ministry, co-creator of the Women of Color in Athens group and other roles that seek to create supportive and welcoming spaces for everyone, with an emphasis on local youth.

In the past, the Jenco Foundation Fund has honored a wide array of exceptional individuals in Appalachian Ohio and West Virginia who have been active in furthering Father Jenco’s vision of philanthropy. To learn more about past recipients, click here.

Supporting the Jenco Award

Want to make sure the Jenco Awards keep uplifting the heroes in your community? Make an online donation through Network for Good to the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, designating the Jenco Foundation Fund or mail gifts to:

Foundation for Appalachian Ohio
PO Box 456
35 Public Square
Nelsonville, OH 45764

For more information, contact the Foundation at 740.753.1111.