Newswise — COLUMBUS, Ohio – Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the American Electric Power Foundation and AEP Ohio announced today that the Columbus-based utility will donate $2.25 million to the hospital’s “Be The Reason” fundraising campaign. The gift will support innovative school-based healthcare programming, behavioral health initiatives and the Animal-Assisted Therapy Program.

The “Be The Reason” campaign, unveiled in August 2016, is a comprehensive campaign that has served as the foundation to continue establishing Nationwide Children’s as the country’s most integrated pediatric healthcare system. Funds raised through the campaign will support breakthrough research, recruitment and retention of world-class talent, capital improvements and investment in creating innovative programs.

“The American Electric Power Foundation and AEP Ohio are proud to support Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s “Be The Reason” campaign,” said Dale Heydlauff, senior vice president - AEP Corporate Communications and president of the AEP Foundation. “This innovative school-based program contributes to the realization of our commitment to power a brighter and healthier future for children and families in our community.”

“The American Electric Power Foundation has been a longtime supporter of Nationwide Children’s Hospital,” said Steve Testa, Acting President of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation. “For more than fifty years, AEP has contributed to our mission of caring for children in central Ohio and across the country. We cannot thank them enough.”

AEP Foundation granted $1.5 million over five years and the AEP Ohio Fund at the Columbus Foundation gave $750,000 over 3 years to the “Be The Reason” campaign.

In previous gifts, American Electric Power and its philanthropic efforts have supported telemedicine initiatives, construction projects, the Center for Family Safety & Healing, and many more programs that have improved the lives of the children and adolescents the hospital cares for.

The American Electric Power Foundation is funded by American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) and its utility operating units. The Foundation provides a permanent, ongoing resource for charitable initiatives involving higher dollar values and multi-year commitments in the communities served by AEP and initiatives outside of AEP’s 11-state service area.

The Foundation focuses on improving lives through education from early childhood through higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math and by meeting basic needs for emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger. Other foundation support may be offered to protect the environment, support healthcare and safety, and enrich life through art, music and cultural heritage.