NELSONVILLE – Ten grants were awarded by the Gulfport Energy Fund at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) to support projects creating educational opportunity in the communities the Fund serves. The Fund’s first grant round of 2019 supported nonprofit and public organizations in advancing their educational initiatives through more than $40,000 in grants.

"Ensuring that Appalachian Ohioans have access to high quality educational opportunities is of the utmost importance to Gulfport Energy," said Courtney Dickens, External Relations Coordinator at Gulfport Energy. "The incredible group of grantees represented in this first grand-round of 2019 are working tirelessly to create those opportunities, and we are proud to support them."

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, including Belmont, Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe, and Noble counties.

First round grantees in 2019 include:

Brook Intermediate School, part of the Rolling Hills Local School District in Guernsey County, was awarded a $3,168.00 grant to introduce students to weaving and promote social-emotional health. The project will encourage stress reduction, communication and collaboration, and cross-curricular study by engaging students in weaving projects in individual, classroom, and school community settings.

Cambridge Primary School, part of the Cambridge Local School District in Guernsey County, was awarded a $1,600.00 grant to create a sensory space for students. The sensory space will allow children to ground and regulate emotions, which currently have no outlet, thereby overcoming barriers to social well-being and academic success.

The Harrison Hills School District in Harrison County was awarded a $5,000.00 grant for a professional development opportunity with the Ruby Payne Foundation. The training will provide educators with a framework for understanding and relating to the impacts of poverty on students, thereby enabling educators to better promote positive changes in student behavior, attendance, achievement, self-image, and more.

Lakeland Academy Community School, a Harrison County school serving predominantly students from low-income families, was awarded a $1,500.00 grant for their Summer Reading Camp. The camp provides an opportunity for struggling readers to develop the fundamental skills necessary for students to become successful readers and lay the foundations for general academic success. The program also connects its young participants with basic needs they might otherwise go without.

The Ohio Valley Farmers’ Market, which serves Belmont, Monroe, and Jefferson counties in Ohio and Marshall County in West Virginia, received a $3,999.00 grant to support its educational programming. Students of all ages will benefit from this programming through adult educational programs on food preservation, cheese making, and nutrition for new mothers, as well as classes for children through the Back Street Farmers’ Club and Kid’s Corner on topics from vermiculture to nutrition, butterflies, and more.

St. Clairsville Elementary School, part of the St. Clairsville-Richland City School District in Belmont County, was awarded a $6,000.00 grant to provide flexible seating, such as balance balls and ball chairs. Flexible seating has been shown to increase student engagement and focus while engaging students with different learning styles, and this grant will allow every classroom in the elementary school 1-2 flexible seating options.

St. Clairsville Middle School, part of the St. Clairsville-Richland City School District in Belmont County, was awarded two grants totaling $7,150.00. One grant, for $2,150.00, will support the 5th grade science teacher in purchasing supplies for two years of project-based learning opportunities, including terrariums, Rocket Racers, and more. Another grant, for $5,000.00, will allow 6th grade students to study cells through the use of microscopes. Both grants support the kind of hands-on learning opportunities that help students grasp and retain information.

The Switzerland of Ohio Local School District serving Monroe and Belmont counties was awarded a $5,400.00 grant to improve student performance in math by purchasing an innovative K-8 math program, "Jump2Math," which engages students in grade-appropriate lessons that involve students moving around the classroom. In addition to in-school lessons, the program will be used to engage parents in student education through math family nights.

Union Local Elementary School, part of the Union Local School District in Belmont County, was awarded a $9,347.45 grant to enhance 3rd grade vocabulary instruction, an essential reading skill which assessments have demonstrated to have the greatest opportunity for improvement in the district. The grant will accomplish this by supporting the purchase of the Wordly Wise 3000 curriculum and related materials to strengthen vocabulary skills and therefore reading comprehension and fluency.

The Gulfport Energy Fund will open its second grant round of 2019 on August 13. The second round of 2019 will support 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 available grant opportunities.

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.