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Ascendium Announces $2.5M Donation to Support Black Business Hub

Project surpasses $24 million raised towards its $26 million goal.

Today marks an exciting milestone as the Urban League of Greater Madison (ULGM) and Ascendium come together to make a transformational impact on the Greater Madison community.

At a joint press conference in the heart of South Madison – the Madison region’s oldest Black enclave – the two organizations announced the $2.5 million donation and expressed their excitement and enthusiasm for the Black Business Hub project.

“We are elated to celebrate the partnership between ULGM and Ascendium and Ascendium’s $2.5M gift to support the Black Business Hub,” said ULGM President & CEO Dr. Ruben L. Anthony Jr. “We feel a shared sense of pride and enthusiasm for the potential of this project and are committed to its success. The Hub is an essential resource for the region, and this gift will help ensure that the Hub and its partners can continue to advance economic equity while providing access to invaluable resources, pathways for growth, and opportunities for success within our community.”

The Hub is designed to empower and equip small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with much-needed access to financial resources, business planning, technical assistance mentorship and coaching, educational programs, and more to foster a Black-led community of entrepreneurship and economic equity.

“We’re proud to support the Urban League of Greater Madison and share with them a belief in the power of education and training beyond high school to transform lives,” said Ascendium’s Chairman, President & CEO Richard D. George. “We look forward to watching entrepreneurs develop and thrive in our community.”

Entrepreneurship and small business ownership have long been a path to multi-generational economic stability and wealth building. Unfortunately, data shows that the disparities in access to these opportunities are worse in Dane County than they are in other places in the nation. By supporting the Black Business Hub, Ascendium is taking meaningful steps to ensure that businesses owned by people of color have the tools and resources needed to thrive and contribute to the economic vitality of the Greater Madison area.

The Urban League and Ascendium have a long track record of partnership. Back in 2009, Ascendium made a similar donation to ULGM that helped push the organization towards its fundraising goal to expand its programming and relocate to South Madison. In the intervening years, Ascendium has supported career readiness and internship opportunities for youth, ACT preparation programming, the annual Economic Development and Diversity Conference, and more. Last year, Ascendium made a $250,000 donation to help ULGM expand and enhance its adult employment programs for commercial driver’s license and renewable energy jobs.

“This generous gift from Ascendium is yet another example of how we can come together to create opportunities in the community,” said Dr. Anthony. “We are incredibly grateful for their investment in the Black Business Hub. The Hub is a beacon of hope for the region that provides empowerment to many entrepreneurs who are striving to make their dreams come true. Ascendium’s tremendous contribution is a testament to our shared commitment to uplifting and strengthening the community.”

About Urban League of Greater Madison

The Urban League of Greater Madison is part of a national movement dedicated to empowering Black and other under-served communities through programs and services, advocacy and civil rights, and community engagement activities. Urban League’s work is aimed at increasing opportunity and eliminating racial disparities in education, economic well-being, housing, and other quality-of-life factors.

The Black Business Hub will be the Madison region’s premiere enterprise center devoted to incubating, accelerating, and networking diverse businesses and entrepreneurs. It will offer a one-stop, place-based system of entrepreneurial support, loans, grants, technical assistance, networking, and more. The Hub will be transformational for generations of Black entrepreneurism in the Madison region. It will create jobs, generate wealth, incubate new ideas, nurture talent, and so much more.

About Ascendium

Ascendum Education Group is committed to making education and training beyond high school a reality for more people. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we fund initiatives across the U.S. that help learners from low-income backgrounds achieve upward mobility; provide student and employee success solutions to colleges and businesses; invest in education-focused innovations to improve learner outcomes; and provide information, tools, and counseling to help millions of borrowers successfully repay their federal student loans. While we have many roles, we have one goal — elevating opportunity by creating a world where everyone can rise to their highest potential. To learn more, visit