NELSONVILLE, Ohio — The I’m a Child of Appalachia Fund at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio has awarded $25,000 to support the Buckeye Hills Foundation and its work to increase internet access throughout Appalachian Ohio’s 32 counties, according to a news release from the foundation.
“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,” Cara Dingus Brook, FAO’s president and CEO, said in a news release. “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.”
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 its 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,” Misty Crosby, executive director of Buckeye Hills Regional Council, said in the release. “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.”
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 visit www.AppalachianOhio.org or contact the Foundation at 740-753-1111.