iBELIEVE Foundation presents Voinovich School with annual award

Marilyn Icsman
December 17, 2018

The iBELIEVE Foundation recently honored Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs with their 2018 iGIVE Award for the School’s work on behalf of the Appalachian region. 

The iBELIEVE Foundation advocates for Appalachia’s youth, specifically working to close the college access gap that affects the region. The annual iGIVE Award honors companies and organizations that invest in Appalachian youth. The Voinovich School affects change in the region through work in entrepreneurship and economic development, energy and the environment, and public and social sector innovation.

Marissa Phipps-Goolsby, iBELIEVE’s director of operations, presented the award to Voinovich School Founding Dean Mark Weinberg in a ceremony on Nov. 8.

“Tonight, we recognize a catalyst for regional, state, and national impact,” she said during her remarks.

She noted the Voinovich School’s ranking among the most innovative public service schools in the country and the 100 top public affairs graduate schools by U.S. News and World Report.
“Most importantly, the people driving the School’s mission are some of the best advocates for the region,” Phipps-Goolsby said.

In accepting the award, Weinberg credited the example set by the School’s namesake Sen. George Voinovich. A 1958 graduate of Ohio University, Voinovich served as mayor of Cleveland, governor of Ohio and U.S. Senator. He was also the only person to serve as the president of both the National Governors Association and the National Conference of Mayors.

Sen. Voinovich’s leadership was guided by core beliefs in a highest calling, making a difference, and working together, Weinberg said.

“This calling, the focus on making a difference, and working together is at the core of the Voinovich School and Ohio University,” Weinberg said while accepting the award.

“Ohio University is committed to serving the needs of our Appalachian neighbors, and the Voinovich School has played a vital role in such efforts,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “The region is stronger for the work of Dean Weinberg and his team, and we look forward to helping them continue to find innovative ways to invest in our communities.”

He noted that the Voinovich School’s partnerships promote economic growth and inclusion and opportunity; have a social impact on community health, education, the environment and child welfare; and build leadership and communities.

“These values and partnerships are at the core of iBELIEVE.  It is our honor to work with this wonderful organization. We thank you for this award, but more importantly for the opportunity to work alongside of you to help make a difference in your communities,” Weinberg said.

In the past, iBELIEVE has recognized organizations like the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, which is headquartered in Pittsburgh and focuses on development in southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and Hall Financial advisors in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Its aim is to honor organizations that embody “outstanding advocacy for the region, its people, and its culture,” Phipps-Goolsby said.

The iBELIEVE Foundation is a Columbus nonprofit working to provide skills like leadership, communication and problem-solving that will ultimately help Appalachian youth reach college. To learn more about the organization and its goals, visit their website.