Donor Spotlight

Donor Spotlight

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

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Getting Books to Kids in Appalachian Ohio

Do you want to reach more kids and families with high quality books? Do you serve youth and families in low-income communities? Then click here to register with First Book and the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio to access free and low-cost books and resources for children.



FAO has always recognized the vital role that education can play in overcoming the challenges of generational poverty and serving as a launch pad for future success. As a result, we’ve cultivated a network of schools, educators, educational organizations, and donors dedicated to partnering with us as we advance education for the region’s children.

Now, we have the opportunity to both leverage and expand that network to get high quality and low-cost educational materials to children across Appalachian Ohio through FAO’s Education Pillar of Prosperity. This is thanks to an exciting new partnership with First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides books and other resources to children from low-income communities with an eye toward advancing educational equity. In addition to books, the resources available through First Book include basic needs items, school supplies, toys, playground equipment, educator resources, clothing, digital learning tools, and more.

FAO’s partnership with First Book is one of our first major initiatives through our Pillars of Prosperity, which represent five core areas essential to quality of life in the region: Education, Arts & Culture, Community & Economic Development, Environmental Stewardship, and Health & Human Services.

With funding from the American Electric Power Foundation and the AEP Ohio Foundation, we look forward to connecting more children with high quality books, learning about the needs of our region, and working to develop new resources to fill those needs. What we learn from this project will also help to inform our future work and initiatives through the Pillars, particularly the Education Pillar.

Do you work with children from low-income communities, or do you have people in your life who do? Then sign up with FAO and First Book today or spread the word by sharing this flyer about the partnership with the educators in your life in order to help connect more children with the high quality educational materials that they might not have access to otherwise.

How Can I Be Part of This Opportunity?

All educators and service providers serving low-income communities throughout Appalachian Ohio and beyond can access low-cost and high-quality educational materials through First Book. To get started, click here to complete your free registration!

With one free sign-up, your registration will connect you to First Book’s educational and basic needs resources, as well as FAO’s grant opportunities, while providing an opportunity to help shape what tools and resources come next for Appalachian Ohio through FAO and First Book.

Do I Need to Teach in a Classroom to Sign Up?

No! We encourage all classroom educators serving children in low-income communities to sign-up, but we all know that children learn and are cared for in many settings. First Book is for anyone touching the lives of children and families in low-income communities, including those working in schools, early childhood programs, out-of-school time programs, military family support programs, faith-based organizations, shelters and clinics, libraries and museums, and many more organizations. Just click here to register!

What If I’m Not an Educator? Can I Still Be Involved?

Yes! Help us get more books to kids by sharing this flyer about the partnership with the educators in your life.

Additionally, you can support our partnership with First Book and the development of future educational initiatives by giving to FAO’s Education Pillar of Prosperity. Gifts to the Education Pillar are tax deductible and can be made in many ways, including cash, bequests, and life insurance. To mail your donation, please designate the Education Pillar of Prosperity and mail to the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, PO Box 456, Nelsonville, OH 45764. Gifts can also be made online by selecting the Education Pillar of Prosperity when donating.

To identify other ways that you can be involved or support this work, contact the Foundation at or 740.753.1111.

What Else Will the Partnership Accomplish?

Together, First Book and FAO will work to:

  • Connect educators and providers across Appalachian Ohio to First Book to provide sustainable access to free and low-cost books and resources;
  • Share valuable resources, like First Book’s Trauma Toolkit, designed to help educators and care providers better understand and support children suffering from trauma and dealing with other relevant issues;
  • Host in-person community “town-hall” meetings with key community thought leaders and stakeholders to identify and better understand what educators need to best support the children you serve in Appalachian Ohio; and
  • Design educational opportunities and resources to support educators and the children of Appalachian Ohio through FAO’s Education Pillar.

Thank you to the champions of education who have made FAO’s partnership with First Book possible!