NELSONVILLE The Gulfport Energy Fund at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) has awarded more than $40,000 in grant awards to 13 organizations in the year's first round of grants. The recipients are nonprofit and public organizations in Belmont, Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe, and Noble counties. This first grant cycle of 2017 focused on projects related to education.

"Gulfport is excited about the opportunities these grants will provide for students and teachers across our six operating counties," said Mike Moore, CEO and President of Gulfport Energy. "The role of education is vital in the success of our students and their communities, which is why we are so pleased to award grants for educational advancement for the fourth year."

The Gulfport Energy Fund at FAO was created to support nonprofits, schools, and communities through projects that increase quality of life, create access to opportunities, or identify and implement a solution for a community need in the counties where Gulfport Energy operates.

First round grantees serving Belmont County in 2017 include:

Belmont College, serving students in Belmont, Harrison, and Monroe counties, received a $2,000 grant. This grant will support improvements to the chemistry lab at Belmont College to support a growing student population.

Books with Badges, a nonprofit community outreach program serving students in Belmont and Jefferson counties, received a $10,000 grant. This grant will support the purchase of a mobile library vehicle to expand the program through additional Storytelling Sessions at elementary schools where law enforcement, fire, and EMS personnel read and offer free books to elementary students.

The Monroe County Board of Developmental Disabilities received a $7,500 grant to support its program sensory room. Clients from Monroe, Noble, and Belmont counties will benefit from this grant through the development of a specially designed room which combines a range of stimuli to help individuals develop and engage their senses.

The Old Fort Steuben Project received a $265 grant to support its The Bill of Rights and You exhibit. Serving residents of Jefferson, Harrison, and Belmont counties, the Bill of Rights and You exhibit will educate visitors on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, coinciding with Constitution Day.

The Zion Foundation received a $2,500 grant to support its nature education program. This grant will support the purchase of test tubes, microscopes, slides, and magnifiers to use in its pond microorganism lessons in addition to dissection equipment to learn about the anatomy of other small animals. Students from Jefferson, Harrison, and Belmont counties will benefit from this grant.

This year's second grant round, set to open in early August, will focus on projects related to health and human services and environmental stewardship. Please sign up for the Foundation's e-newsletter on FAO's website, www.AppalachianOhio.org, for the latest news on when grant opportunities become available.

For more information about the Gulfport Energy Fund, please visit www.AppalachianOhio.org

or call 740.753.1111.

About Gulfport Energy:

Gulfport Energy Corporation is an Oklahoma City-based independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company with its principal producing properties located in the Utica Shale of Eastern Ohio and along the Louisiana Gulf Coast. In addition, Gulfport holds a sizeable acreage position in the Alberta Oil Sands in Canada through its 25% interest in Grizzly Oil Sands ULC.

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.