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Ascendium Employees Select 20 Nonprofits to Gift $1 Million Total in Good Neighbor Grants

On this Giving Tuesday, a day that spotlights generosity around the world, Ascendium gifts Good Neighbor Grants to 20 nonprofits in the various communities where our employees live and work. Each nonprofit will receive a $50,000 grant to fund essential community projects, such as educational initiatives, workforce training programs, and support services for low-income families. Totaling $1 million, these grants will ensure a positive impact on the communities they serve.

Ascendium is a mission-driven nonprofit, with employees that often have strong connections to other nonprofits providing services to help people in their community. With their expertise in mind, employees are asked to research, nominate, and then vote for 20 nonprofits to receive a Good Neighbor Grant. Each nominated nonprofit demonstrates exceptional dedication to community development, a proven track record of impactful work, and alignment with Ascendium’s mission to improve educational and workforce training outcomes for learners from low-income backgrounds. This year, Ascendium employees selected 14 Madison-area nonprofits and six nonprofits in locations where remote employees are based to receive a grant.

This year’s Good Neighbor Grants recipients include the following.

Aldo Leopold Nature Center Inc. (Monona, Wis.)
All-In Milwaukee (Milwaukee, Wis.)
Arts @ Large (Milwaukee, Wis.)
A Woman’s Place (DeForest, Wis.)
Bayview Foundation  (Madison, Wis.)
Boys & Girls Club of the Twin Cities  (Saint Paul, Minn.)
Boys & Girls Club of West-Central Wisconsin (Tomah, Wis.)
Carol Mathey’s Center for Children and Families (Oakdale, Minn.)
Cottage Grove Volunteer Fire Department (Cottage Grove, Wis.)
FairShare CSA Coalition (Madison, Wis.)
Madison Public Schools Foundation (Madison, Wis.)
Porchlight (Madison, Wis.)
Safe Harbor (Aberdeen, S.D.)
Simpson Street Free Press (Madison, Wis.)
Sunbeam Family Services (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
Sunshine Place (Sun Prairie, Wis.)
The Rainbow Project (Madison, Wis.)
The Village Diaper Bank (Madison, Wis.)
Vera Court Neighborhood Center (Madison, Wis.)
Wisconsin Literacy (Madison, Wis.)

The selected nonprofits encompass a wide range of causes, including education, child welfare, literacy, and community development. This diverse approach underscores Ascendium’s commitment to addressing multifaceted challenges within the communities where employees live and work.

For Ascendium employee Liz Gross, it is empowering to play a part in securing a grant to a nonprofit that’s close to her heart.

“I started volunteering with FairShare CSA Coalition in 2017 as part of Ascendium’s Volunteer Time Off program. As a board member, I know how significant $50,000 is for FairShare,” she said. “The gift will help them scale their relatively new — yet already successful — apprenticeship and training programs so more aspiring farmers can build a long-term career in sustainable agriculture.”

Good Neighbor Grants are part of our employee giving program, Ascendium Cares. In its third year, Good Neighbor Grants are one of many opportunities at Ascendium for employees to engage with our mission to improve outcomes, particularly in education and workforce training, for learners from low-income backgrounds. These grants also direct much-needed financial resources to nonprofits that really resonate with employees and that are doing impactful work in their communities. Since 2021, 50 nonprofits have received Good Neighbor Grants for a total of $2.3 million in gifts from Ascendium.

“Good Neighbor Grants are just one of the many ways Ascendium gives back to the community each year,” said Brett Lindquist, vice president – communications and community engagement at Ascendium. “This year, we made several large investments in nonprofits helping Madison-area learners succeed, raised over $140,000 to gift to a dozen local United Ways, and awarded scholarships to over 700 apprentices in the Wisconsin Technical College System. Additionally, we’re on track to award nearly $100 million in grants through our national education philanthropy this year.”

About Ascendium 

Ascendium 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