Nelsonville, Ohio – On November 10, 2018 the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) celebrated its 20th anniversary by reflecting on its two decades of building opportunities in the region while also envisioning a future of regional prosperity. The first step toward this future was announced this same evening. The FAO also serves Meigs County.

American Electric Power Foundation and the AEP Ohio Foundation have jointly pledged a $1 million gift to FAO’s Pillars of Prosperity. The Pillars are a key piece of FAO’s strategy of growing the philanthropic dollars Appalachian Ohio needs for a future where the region has access to a toolbox of permanent resources designed to empower its citizens to achieve a clean environment, a healthy population, access to a high-quality education, a thriving regional economy, and a flourishing arts and culture scene.

“Quality education and environmental stewardship are critically important to the sustainable development of the Appalachian Ohio region,” said Julie Sloat, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer. “We are very proud to support the region’s development through FAO’s Pillars of Prosperity program and to partner with FAO to help address the issues that are crucial to the region’s future success.”

The AEP Foundation and AEP Ohio Foundation gifts will focus on the growth of the Education and Environmental Stewardship Pillars. The gift will be structured to strategically invest in projects impacting communities today, supporting educators in expanding the books and resources in their classrooms and making deeper investments in Appalachian Ohio’s natural environment.

“AEP’s gift to the Pillars will unleash the potential of the region’s children through education and ensure that the region’s natural beauty continues to refresh and encourage people for generations to come,” said Cara Dingus Brook, president and CEO of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio. “It is so visionary, and we are truly grateful.”

FAO’s Pillars of Prosperity are designed to develop the resources needed for deeper and more strategic investment in the areas needed for a more vibrant region – Arts & Culture, Community & Economic Development, Education, Environmental Stewardship, and Health & Human Services.

AEP has long worked with FAO to advance a brighter future for the region. Twenty years ago, AEP provided one of the earliest donations that matched public funding to establish FAO. Since then, the company has invested in environmental education through FAO and served as a cornerstone champion of FAO’s first-of-its-kind Initial Philanthropic Offering (IPO), where donors made gifts designed to support the Foundation’s operations so that the region’s communities could benefit from greater philanthropic dollars for grants and scholarships.

For information about how you can create opportunities with FAO and the Pillars of Prosperity, please visit FAO’s website at