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iBELIEVE Foundation to Hold 6th Annual Benefit Gala

Event on April 21 Will Raise Awareness and Funds to Provide Opportunity to Appalachian Youth

Columbus, OH – The iBELIEVE Foundation is pleased to once again hold its 6th Annual Columbus Benefit Gala on Friday, April 21 from 6 pm to 9 pm at the Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus. The Gala is the iBELIEVE Foundation’s major fundraising event to support its mission to provide Appalachian students with educational and learning opportunities to grow their 21st Century Skills like leadership, communication, and problem solving, while building a network of student-leaders across Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and, for the first time, Kentucky.

Last year the event raised $100,000 to support the iBELIEVE Foundation’s mission. Emceed once again by NBC 4’s Colleen Marshall, attendees will enjoy a cocktail hour with live entertainment followed by a plated meal while learning about the iBELIEVE Foundation’s mission directly from students benefitting from the Foundation’s programming. Tickets are available for purchase online by visiting

The iBELIEVE Foundation will also present awards to community partners who make its work possible. Columbia Gas of Ohio will receive the iGIVE Corporate Award while Dr. E. Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University and former president of The Ohio State University, will receive the iLEAD Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Columbia cares about keeping Ohio communities strong through education and economic development,” said Dan Creekmur, president of Columbia Gas of Ohio. “By helping students build the skills they need for success, iBELIEVE is building a brighter future for our communities.”

“I am grateful to be honored by such a wonderful organization whose mission is close to my heart. Providing opportunities to students who might not otherwise have the chance to pursue higher education is critical to the future of our nation,” said Dr. E. Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University. “Nothing is more important than the education of our young people. I deeply believe that, and I will always remain committed to encouraging students to pursue their dreams through the transformative power of education.”

Attendees will also be able to participate in silent and live auctions at this year’s event. Items available in the silent and live auctions include Columbus sports memorabilia, trips, and other exciting opportunities in the Columbus region. A highlight of the live auction, attendees will be able to support the annual cost of a student to participate in the iBELIEVE Foundation’s annual programming with a gift of $300.

“Our annual gala is an incredible opportunity to share the stories of the students who benefit from iBELIEVE while recognizing individuals and organizations who support our mission,” said Patrick Klein, executive director of the iBELIEVE Foundation. “This summer we will offer more than 800 summer camp scholarships to students from Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and for the first time, Kentucky, to empower students with the skills necessary for personal success and to better their local communities. None of this would be possible without the generosity of our supporters.”

The iBELIEVE Foundation works with students in over 50 high schools throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky, to increase the college-going rate of Appalachian students, which is historically much lower than in other parts of the U.S. The iBELIEVE Foundation hopes to retain these students in local communities following their graduation from college. Students that participate in iBELIEVE Foundation summer camps and other programming develop a stronger sense of their personal strengths and weaknesses to be better students, leaders, and citizens. Through the program, participants develop the network necessary to help them achieve their goals, creating more opportunities for current and future Appalachian students.

Gifts to the iBELIEVE Foundation are tax deductible and can be made in many ways, including cash, bequests, and life insurance. To support leadership opportunities for Appalachian students, please designate your gift to the iBELIEVE Foundation and mail to the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, PO Box 456, Nelsonville, OH 45764. Donations can also be made online at by designating the iBELIEVE Foundation Fund. For more information on how you can make a difference in the lives of Appalachian Ohioans, please call the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio at 740.753.1111 or visit

About the iBELIEVE Foundation Fund

The iBELIEVE Foundation Fund was established to provide leadership, communication, and problem solving skills to Appalachian youth and young adults along with other in-need individuals so that they could become successful future leaders in their schools and most importantly their communities. More information can be found at

About the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio

The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) is a regional community foundation serving the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio. A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Foundation creates opportunities for Appalachian Ohio’s citizens and communities by inspiring and supporting philanthropy. For more information about FAO, visit