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News & Happenings

Peoples Bank Donates Office Building to FAO



Rocky Community Improvement Fund and

Governor’s Office of Appalachia

Partner with Foundation to Secure Gift

group pic 1 website 

Photo courtesy of Michelle Jeffrey: Pictured from left to right are Cara Dingus Brook, FAO President and CEO; Matthew Evans, Peoples BankSVP Director of Risk Management; Ron Strickmaker, FAO Board Trustee; Mike Brooks, Chairman of the Board of Rocky Brands; Kristi Tanner, Assistant Director of the Ohio Department of Development; and Karen Fabiano, Assistant Office Chief of the Housing and Community Partnerships Office.


The Peoples Bank, National Association (Peoples Bank) has given the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) a gift vital to its development – the gift of expanded office and meeting space. The gift, and the instrumental roles played through the investments of the Rocky Community Improvement Fund, Bricker & Eckler, LLP, and the Governor’s Office of Appalachia all highlight the importance of partnerships.

A cornerstone of the Nelsonville Public Square since 1910, the Peoples Bank building on the corner of Washington Street was home to Peoples Bank until 2009 when it moved to a new location in Nelsonville. Seeing the asset they could contribute to the community, Peoples Bank offered to donate the building to the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio to fulfill its needs for expanded office space and a central meeting area for local nonprofits and partners in the Foundation’s work.

“The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio is so appreciative of Peoples Bank’s commitment to our work within the Appalachian Ohio community and truly values the support provided by Rocky Brands and the Governor’s Office of Appalachia,” said Cara Dingus Brook, FAO’s President and CEO. “Without their support, we would not have had the capacity to develop this community meeting space while continuing to support our programmatic initiatives.”

The Rocky Community Improvement Fund, Rocky Brands’ fund devoted to enhancing the quality of life of the people of Nelsonville and the surrounding communities, contributed the first $10,000 to the project to ensure the Foundation would be able to renovate the building without detracting from its mission or its contributions to the region. Rocky Brands’ Chairman of the Board Mike Brooks and his wife Pam Brooks also joined the effort with a personal contribution of $50,000. With additional support from the Governor’s Office of Appalachia through a $250,000 Rapid Response Grant and in-kind services from the Columbus law firm Bricker & Eckler, the Foundation secured enough funding and partnership to move forward.

“This building is a true story of community and regional partnership,” added Brook. “We are proud to be a part of the Nelsonville community where partnerships between citizens, Main Street Nelsonville, and businesses like Rocky Brands contribute to a vibrant community. To receive a gift and support to enable us to continue to grow our efforts on behalf of the region and bring partners together in tailored meeting space on the Public Square where the Foundation was started is precious to us. It is a testament to the Appalachian Ohio region and the goodwill within it.”

“We are proud to be able to support strong, viable organizations like the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio,” said Rick Stafford, Executive Vice President, Retail at Peoples Bank.  “Investing time, energy and financial resources in the communities throughout our service footprint is an important part of being a responsible community member. Donating an office building to an organization dedicated to helping others is demonstrative of the spirit of our corporate culture, vision, and core values,” Stafford said.

In recognition of their gifts and partnership, FAO is delighted to welcome Rocky Brands and Peoples Bank to its ICAN! Corporate Partnership, a network of businesses committed to supporting the Foundation and its efforts to create educational opportunities throughout the Appalachian Ohio region. Rocky Brands and Peoples Bank will join the ranks of AEP Ohio, AK Steel, Duke Energy, Diagnostic Hybrids: A Quidel Company, ED MAP, Inc., The Graham Family, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, McNational, Inc., Ohio CAT, Oxford Mining, Tata Sons Limited, and the Walmart Foundation.

During its 12 years of service, FAO has developed tools and partnerships to combat regional problems, including investing over $1.7 million in grants and scholarships to meet unique needs and opportunities in communities across Appalachian Ohio.

About Peoples Bancorp Inc.
Peoples Bancorp Inc. is a diversified financial products and services company with $1.8 billion in assets, 47 locations and 40 ATMs in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. Peoples makes available a complete line of banking, investment, insurance and trust solutions through its financial service units – Peoples Bank, National Association; Peoples Financial Advisors (a division of Peoples Bank); and Peoples Insurance Agency, LLC. Peoples’common shares are traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market® under the symbol “PEBO”, and Peoples is a member of the Russell 3000 index of US publicly-traded companies. Learn more about Peoples at

About Rocky Brands, Inc.
Rocky Brands, Inc. is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of premium quality footwear and apparel marketed under a portfolio of well recognized brand names including Rocky®, Georgia Boot®, Durango®, Lehigh®, BUILT by Georgia Boot and the licensed brands Michelin® and Mossy Oak®. Rocky Brands is proud to supply footwear to the United States military. For more information, visit