FAO supports connectivity with grant to the Buckeye Hills Foundation

FAO’s I’m a Child of Appalachia Fund continues broadband support

Staff Report

NELSONVILLE — The I’m a Child of Appalachia® Fund at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) has awarded $25,000 to support the Buckeye Hills Foundation (BHF) and its work to increase internet access throughout Appalachian Ohio’s 32 counties.

“The I’m a Child of Appalachia Fund was created to meet the greatest needs and pursue the most promising opportunities facing our communities both today and tomorrow, across areas such as education, economic development, and health. The lack of equitable broadband connectivity in Appalachian Ohio is a major barrier to opportunity across all of these areas,” said Cara Dingus Brook, FAO’s president & CEO. “We are grateful for the Buckeye Hills Foundation’s leadership as they leverage their experience in infrastructure to help organize our region to solve this pressing problem.”

According to a news release, Appalachian Ohio faces a digital divide that has created challenges for our communities throughout the transition to remote learning and greater dependence on virtual services. The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, the Buckeye Hills Foundation, and countless other organizations throughout the region have worked to bridge this digital divide, although tracking the region’s progress has proved challenging.

The I’m a Child of Appalachia Fund’s grant to BHF will support their creation of a report on broadband access that will track the region’s progress on digital connectivity. This will allow BHF, FAO, and all those working to address connectivity to raise awareness and better make the case for increased broadband investment in Appalachian Ohio.

“We are looking forward to continuing to work with the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio and our regional partners to help make broadband access a reality in Appalachian Ohio,” said Misty Crosby, executive director of Buckeye Hills Regional Council. “This support will help advance the Buckeye Hills Foundation’s broadband advocacy as we continue to craft and carry the message of our region’s needs to Columbus and Washington.”

“The Buckeye Hills Foundation is looking forward to expanding on the broadband research that has already been well established by partners across the region,” said Bret Allphin, executive director of the Buckeye Hills Foundation. “This investment will provide us with the opportunity to continue building our message of advocacy, and will also help us build a wider network of partners who are engaged in the broadband discussion in Appalachian Ohio.”

The news release further stated, Buckeye Hills Regional Council is working to develop broadband infrastructure throughout the region by addressing the immediate regional needs of school and community connectivity, working to establish an Ohio broadband authority and regional broadband councils, and maximizing the impact of federal broadband funding. To learn more, visit buckeyehills.org.

The Buckeye Hills Foundation promotes community and economic development through research, education, charity, and training conducted in support of the overall mission of Buckeye Hills Regional Council.

FAO has been advancing regional broadband connectivity through the I’m a Child of Appalachia Fund as part of its ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Appalachian Ohio. Recently, the Fund awarded over $40,000 to support the development of community WIFI through a partnership with AEP Ohio.

To learn more about FAO’s ongoing work to increase internet connectivity across Appalachian Ohio, or to learn how you can support this work, visit www.AppalachianOhio.org or contact the Foundation at 740.753.1111.

About the Buckeye Hills Regional Council

Buckeye Hills Regional Council is a council of governments working to improve quality of life throughout southeast Ohio by focusing on aging and disability, community development, mapping and data, population health, and transportation planning. For more information, visit www.buckeyehills.org.

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 www.AppalachianOhio.org, follow FAO on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FoundationforAppalachianOhio, or follow FAO on Instagram @FDNforAppalachianOhio.

FAO’s I’m a Child of Appalachia Fund continues broadband support

Staff Report