Nancy Zimpher"Since my mother was a teacher at my high school, I learned, early on, the value of higher education and chose to take advantage of every educational opportunity. "
Frances Strickland"There’s no doubt in my mind that our young people can accomplish anything if they know how much we believe in them and if we give them a chance to pursue their dreams. The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio helps us do just that."
Given the ever-changing landscape of today’s workplace, increasing educational opportunity is the most powerful tool we have for increasing our region’s economic and quality of life success. The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) is therefore committed to creating educational opportunities, which as a regional community foundation we do in two ways by:
1. Creating access to philanthropic investments through grantmaking and fundraising
2. Providing strategic leadership
Through these strategies, FAO is working with many partners on a game-changing approach to education, with a specific focus on STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine) education, for our region – to connect the talent and programs of excellence that exist within the region’s educational institutions and corporations so they can utilize this system to leverage resources and collaboration in ways that create significant access to educational and professional work experiences in the region.
In support of FAO’s early work in STEMM, we were awarded a STEM Initiative Planning Grant from the Ohio Board of Regents to lead a planning process for southeast Ohio in partnership with educational organizations and institutions. At the heart of this regional planning is a strategic visioning process to ensure our shared vision for STEMM in Appalachian Ohio encompasses the perspectives, needs and desired outcomes of the diverse sectors that make up our communities – students and their families, K-12 educators, higher education institutions, businesses, government, and philanthropy.
Having begun this work at the southeast regional STEM conference on May 21, 2010 at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, we have gained insight into the many aspects that will compose a guiding vision for this work. To learn more about the regional conference in May 2010 and read participant feedback from the facilitated discussion groups, please visit the Southeast Regional STEM Conference page of our website. With this feedback as the building blocks, the planning process advanced with meetings for educators across the region in early August. The Regional STEM Planning Process page of our website has a brief overview of these meetings.
We expect many individuals and organizations will be involved in the STEMM Initiative with gifts of time, talent, and treasure. It is of vital importance to our students’ success, and therefore our region’s, that the whole community participate in building, and creating access to, the educational opportunities necessary for our students’ success in the 21st century global workforce. Innovation is here and thriving in Appalachian Ohio, it is up to us to together build the opportunities and systems that will access and leverage resources.
We must work together and align behind a strong vision for the future.