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Lawrence County Community Foundation Fund launches

New fund to grow resources for local communities

(IRONTON, Ohio) — Representatives from three local organizations and the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio signed an agreement today creating the Lawrence County Community Foundation Fund to encourage increased philanthropic support for Lawrence County communities and residents.

The Lawrence Economic Development Corporation, Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, and Lawrence County Commission spearheaded the creation of the new fund as a vehicle for attracting resources that can be invested to benefit Lawrence County residents today and into the future.

Each of the three prime founding funders contributed $250,000 to the fund. Those investments will be matched dollar-for-dollar by FAO, a regional community foundation serving the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio, thanks to funds awarded to FAO by the state of Ohio. Other founding funders include Donna and Bill Dingus; Sandra Blackburn; Vicki and Joe Freeman; Pam and Dan Jeffries; McGinnis, Inc.; Lori and Rich Donahue; Annette and Carl Grover; and Pickett Concrete.    

“Organizations and people of southern Ohio receive less charitable support for the work they’re doing to spur development and improve quality of life than other regions of the state,” said Dan Evans, Ph.D., president of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation. “The Lawrence County Community Foundation Fund will help us close this gap and ensure that we’re able to make a positive impact in Lawrence County communities, year after year.”

An integral component of a community fund’s work is grant-making to local nonprofits around areas known to be essential to the quality of life. As with FAO and other community funds in the region, the Lawrence County Community Foundation Fund will award grants to support projects in arts and culture, community and economic development, education, environmental stewardship, and health and human services. The first grant round will launch in August, funded through a partnership with FAO’s I’m a Child of Appalachia® fund.

“Through our work, we see every day that the needs in our county are great, so we’re proud to partner with the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation and the Lawrence County Commission to build a strong foundation for our future,” said D.R. Gossett, CEO of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization. “Through this partnership, we’ll be able to advance sustained transformation and create positive changes in the lives of our residents.”

The Lawrence County Community Foundation Fund is the 13th community fund in Appalachian Ohio to operate as a component fund of FAO. A volunteer advisory committee of community leaders will govern the fund, with FAO handling fund management and administrative services. 

“We’re hopeful that this initial investment will create energy in our communities, leverage existing investments, and attract additional charitable resources from inside and outside the region to benefit Lawrence County,” said DeAnna Holliday, president of the Lawrence County Commission. “Our ultimate goal is to ensure that permanent philanthropic resources are available to meet not only the needs of our communities and our residents today but also for generations to come.”

The Lawrence County Community Foundation Fund is working to secure additional founding funders, with a goal of starting the fund with a total of $2 million, including funds raised and FAO match.

“Having grown up in Lawrence County, I’m so excited for the new opportunities the Lawrence County Community Foundation will be creating for our home area,” said Cara Dingus Brook, FAO president, and CEO. “The founders are visionary, and the difference they are making will be felt for generations. The impact of will span health, arts, education, community and economic development, the environment, and more. This is a red-letter day!”

For more information about how you can get involved with the Lawrence County Community Foundation, visit our Lawrence County Page or contact Bill Dingus at (740)533-7280.