WALNUT CREEK - Columbia Gas will invest $100,000 over the next four years to advance regional opportunities and sustainable, widely shared prosperity for Appalachian Ohio and its communities.
The company announced the grant at the Eastern Ohio Development Alliance meeting held recently in Walnut Creek. With EODA serving as a longtime economic development partner to many of Appalachian Ohio's counties, company officials said the meeting was a perfect venue to share their commitment to the future of Appalachian Ohio through a $100,000 investment in the partnership of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth and the Ohio Appalachian Business Council.
"It is significant that these three organizations did not yet exist during past energy booms," said Jack Partridge, president of Columbia Gas of Ohio. "Appalachian Ohio is now fortunate to have regional philanthropic and economic development organizations, which can partner to ensure lasting gains for the region's citizens and communities. And Columbia Gas wants to be a partner in that work."
Partridge presented the check to FAO President and CEO Cara Dingus Brook and APEG President and CEO John Molinaro to aid their organizations' efforts in working with communities, businesses and other regional organizations to see the wealth developed from the region's natural resources benefit Appalachian Ohio's citizens.
"The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio was founded to create opportunities for the region's citizens and communities," Brook said. "Appalachian Ohio's past shows a history of our region's natural resource development benefiting other areas of our nation, while we've not had a way to capture it for our communities' benefit. This investment shows Columbia Gas is a leader in helping Appalachian Ohio chart a different path forward this time through strategic philanthropy and a commitment to measuring progress."
One project supported by Columbia Gas's grant will be the regional prosperity scorecard being designed to measure significant factors in Appalachian Ohio's prosperity, including educational attainment, philanthropic assets, regional GDP and personal income, among others.
Currently in its earliest stages, the scorecard will be a flexible tool, providing data on eight metrics across the region. As the project grows, FAO and APEG envision partnering with additional regional organizations to support continued tracking, wider use and adaptations to focus on growing strong communities.
"As an economic development organization for this region, APEG is partnering with FAO to see that investments in Appalachian Ohio are strategically managed for the region and its communities," said Molinaro. "Columbia Gas's investment in our organizations and the regional prosperity scorecard under development are a considerable milestone in ensuring Appalachian Ohio is positioned for sustainable, widely-shared prosperity far into the future."