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Funding available for projects advancing conservation, environmental stewardship

The Highland County Press - Staff Photo - Create Article
Representatives from the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District and members of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio Board celebrate the opening of new funding opportunities for environmental stewardship-related projects. (Submitted photo)
Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, Press Release

The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO), through its Environmental Stewardship Pillar of Prosperity, announces new funding opportunities to advance conservation, environmental stewardship and the greater well-being of Appalachian Ohio.  

Thanks to a transformative $5 million investment from the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD), funding is available to support community projects, scholarships, fellowships, research and innovation in the areas of conservation and environmental stewardship.

“We’re grateful to the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District for its game-changing investment in our region’s permanent capacity to advance conservation and environmental stewardship,” said Cara Dingus Brook, FAO president and CEO. “MWCD’s gift is the largest environmental stewardship endowment the Foundation has received to date, and it represents a significant investment in the well-being of our people and communities.”

In addition to giving financially, MWCD will also lend its deep expertise in the areas of environmental stewardship and conservation.

“We believe that partnerships between groups are crucial to advancing sustainability and environmental stewardship in Appalachia,” said Craig Butler, MWCD executive director. “By working together, we can leverage our collective resources and expertise to create a more significant impact and support a diverse range of projects and initiatives, from local community efforts to large-scale research and innovation.”

A total of $125,000 in grant funding is available within the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio and seven additional counties served by MWCD. It’s possible because of MWCD’s gift – and other gifts from generous donors who helped to establish FAO’s Environmental Stewardship Pillar of Prosperity Fund, including Nicolozakes Trucking & Construction Inc., Ohio CAT and American Electric Power.

Available opportunities:

• Community grants to support locally driven projects that preserve and enhance our natural environment. Public and nonprofit organizations as well as individuals or groups working with a fiscal sponsor are eligible to apply.

• Scholarships to support individuals seeking degrees or continuing education in ecology, forestry, wildlife ecology or related natural resource fields, as well as skilled trades, vocational and technical training in fields that integrate and support green energy technology, sustainable agriculture and land stewardship.

• Fellowships to provide two years of support (including a financial stipend and mentorship) for individuals who pioneer positive change through projects that address environmental challenges and promote biodiversity conservation.

• Innovation grants to invest in new and creative approaches that result in environmental good while encouraging environmental stewardship.

• Research grants to support studies that address critical gaps in our understanding of our diverse ecosystems and contribute to the conservation and enhancement of aquatic biodiversity and healthy habitats.

Additional information and funding applications are available at

FAO’s Environmental Stewardship Pillar of Prosperity brings donors and doers together to ensure the people of Appalachian Ohio can experience our region’s natural beauty, both today and for generations to come. To date, the Environmental Stewardship Pillar has invested more than $1.6 million in grants and scholarships throughout Appalachian Ohio.

For more information on these funding opportunities and how you can support or create opportunities for the people and communities of Appalachian Ohio, visit, email or call (740) 753-1111.

About the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio: The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio 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 people and communities by inspiring and supporting philanthropy. For more information, visit and follow FAO on Facebook and Instagram.

About the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District: The MWCD, a political subdivision of the state, was organized in 1933 to develop and implement a plan to reduce flooding and conserve water for beneficial public uses in the Muskingum River Watershed, the largest wholly contained watershed in Ohio. Since their construction, the 16 reservoirs and dams in the MWCD region have been credited for saving over $7 billion worth of potential property damage from flooding, according to the federal government, as well as providing popular recreational opportunities that bolster the region’s economy, garnering more than 5 million visitors annually. A significant portion of the reservoirs are managed by the MWCD, and the dams are managed for flood-risk management by the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. For more information about the MWCD, visit and follow the MWCD on Facebook and Twitter.

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