Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library
Barbara Mills currently serves as co-founder and Chair of Gala of Hope Foundation. Formed by Barbara and Bob Mills in 2014, the Foundation works tirelessly to change the face of cancer in the Dayton region. To date, it has raised and invested over $6 million in local cancer research, treatments and patient support. She advocates daily on behalf of cancer care and patients across the 14-county region.
Barbara began her public service career in the 1980’s with Congressman Bob McEwen (R-OH) working her way up from staff assistant to chief of staff over 10 years. During that time, she became well versed in the inner workings of Congress. Following that career, Barbara teamed up with then-Lt. Governor Mike DeWine, working in various capacities in State government and on his successful campaign for the US Senate. Barbara was named as DeWine’s US Senate State Director, a position she held for the entirety of DeWine’s Senate career. While in that role, Barbara created a unique state-wide constituent service team and group of local offices to connect the Senator more directly with each of Ohio’s 88 counties. This model is still in use today by Ohio’s current US Senators and many other statewide elected office holders. Barbara rounded out her public service with US Congressman David Hobson (R-OH) as his District Director.
Until 2015, Barbara served as co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of CBD Advisors where she used her unique relationship building skills, learned in nearly 25 years of public service, to advance the private sector.
Barbara is the current Board Chair of the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library.
In the last few years, Barbara has received a number of prestigious recognitions: “Excellence in Income Development” from the American Cancer Society; the “Dave Hobson Award” by the Dayton Development Commission recognizing outstanding and unwavering support for the Dayton region; “Women of Influence” honoree by the YWCA of Dayton. In 2018, Barbara and Bob Mills were named the “Regional Leaders of the Year” by the Dayton Business Journal — the first time in its history that a husband and wife team were recognized.
Barbara is the matriarch to a beautifully blended family of four adult children, their spouses, and nine fabulous grandchildren. Bob Mills passed away in 2020.
Kyle Zimmer is the President, CEO and Co-founder of First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise focused on furthering educational equity for children in poverty ages 0-18. First Book’s systemic approach is driven by an integrated set of models that aggregate the voice and purchasing power of more than half a million educators and programs. Through its research arm, First Book Research & Insights, the organization generates ongoing data that informs First Book’s design and benefits the broader sector serving children in poverty. First Book’s educator-driven solutions, the First Book Marketplace and the First Book Accelerator, create a multiplier effect that is expediting evidence-based strategies, books and resources as well as empowering educators, transforming educational environments, creating new markets for publishers and content developers, and delivering the widest range of resources for children in greatest need.
First Book operates in the U.S. and Canada, through offices in Washington, D.C., and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. To date, First Book has provided more than 200 million books and educational resources, with a retail value of more than $2 billion, to address the opportunity gap and fuel learning.
A native of Zanesville, Ohio, Kyle she received her juris doctorate from The George Washington University Law School and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Iowa. She is a member of the Forbes Nonprofit Council and a Fellow with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a sister program of the World Economic Forum. She also serves on the board of directors for Ashoka, which works to support social entrepreneurs in more than 70 countries; and on the board of directors for Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., which is responsible for protecting and overseeing the integrity of Dr. Seuss books, properties, licensing and related products.
First Book and Kyle have been recognized with awards from the Library of Congress, the National Education Association Foundation, the National Book Foundation, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Fast Company, Goldman Sachs and others.
Foundation for Appalachian Ohio
Emily Vigue joined the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio as Program Manager in July 2019 after graduating from Marietta College. Raised in Junction City in Perry County, Emily became interested in the unique history of Appalachia after serving as an Americorps Intern in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. While there she participated in emergency FEMA disaster relief during the 2016 floods that affected the region.
Emily manages FAO’s grantmaking and stewardship efforts, as well as assists on a variety of program initiatives.
We, at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, are your neighbors and partners, actively working to build philanthropic resources within Appalachian Ohio.
The Foundation’s value goes well beyond financial management; we are the region’s catalyst and tool for uniting gifts of time, talent, and treasure to create transformational impact.
We believe that as we close the region’s philanthropy gap, we will all see change in our region’s battle with generational poverty. Our citizens and communities will be empowered to create opportunities today and across future generations.