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Aberdeen YMCA, Boys & Girls Club Receive $100,000 Grants to Strengthen Offerings

A pair of community-minded nonprofit organizations in the Aberdeen area are expanding their impact with the aid of $100,000 Good Neighbor Grants from Ascendium. The Aberdeen Family YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club of Aberdeen Area were both honored with the award, which is given to nonprofit organizations committed to increasing education and workforce training outcomes for learners from low-income backgrounds.

At the Aberdeen Family YMCA, there is a six-month waitlist for preschool and pre-K learning opportunities. Good Neighbor Grant funds will help the center build and furnish an eight-classroom addition that will accommodate an additional 145 children. This includes children from low-income families, who — through the Aberdeen Family YMCA’s financial assistance program and state childcare services — can enroll at little to no cost.

“The generous grant that the Aberdeen Family YMCA received will have a significant impact on the youth of our community,” says Mike Quast, chief executive officer of the Aberdeen Family YMCA. “The grant will help the YMCA increase preschool and pre-kindergarten classroom space by 50%, allowing us to provide even more high-quality educational opportunities for our young students.”

Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Aberdeen Area will also benefit from the award, as Good Neighbor Grant funds will allow the organization to bolster its workforce development offerings. This programming aims to provide club members with workforce development-related field trips, job shadowing and training opportunities in different career paths.

“The Boys & Girls Club of Aberdeen Area is honored to receive Ascendium’s Good Neighbor Grant to create meaningful impact for our workforce development and educational programming opportunities for youth in the Aberdeen community,” says Program Director Megan Reshetar. “When young people are introduced to the world of work, they’re more likely to dream big and connect what they’re learning to future career opportunities. With this grant, we will be able to expose our club members to a variety of different career pathways and hopefully help them recognize their potential and develop necessary skills to become anything they dream.”

Good Neighbor Grants are funded by Ascendium, who is on a mission to make education and training beyond high school a reality for more people. The funding initiative gives Ascendium employees a chance to recognize those organizations they feel are doing good work in their communities. Employees nominate and vote for the award, which must be used in service of increasing education and workforce training outcomes for learners from low-income backgrounds. In addition to these organizations and another in Noblesville, Indiana, seven nonprofits in Madison, Wisconsin, where Ascendium is based, are being recognized with Good Neighbor Grants for a total of $1 million awarded.

According to Brett Lindquist, Ascendium’s vice president – strategic communications, these are just the kinds of impacts the organization had in mind when it began the Good Neighbor Grants initiative in 2021.

“From the top down, we believe that we rise by lifting others,” says Lindquist. “Ascendium employees strive to better their communities through Volunteer Time Off, matching donations to nonprofits and other personal and professional commitments. The Good Neighbor Grants initiative is just one more way we strive to make an impact in the communities where our employees live and work.”

About Ascendium Education Group

Ascendium Education Group is the nation’s largest federal student loan guarantor, a leading postsecondary education philanthropy and a provider of solutions to support academic achievement, long-term financial wellness and student loan repayment success. Ascendium, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, provides information, tools and counseling to help millions of borrowers nationwide avoid default and keep the door to re-enrollment open. Ascendium’s philanthropic mission is to elevate opportunities and outcomes for learners from low-income backgrounds to access and succeed at postsecondary education, workforce training and career success. To learn more, visit ascendiumeducation.org.