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Centro Hispano of Dane County announces $2.5 million gift from Ascendium as cost of campaign increases to $20 million

Centro Hispano of Dane County (Centro) announced on Wednesday at its annual Evening of Dreaming event that it has received a $2.5 million gift from Ascendium for Campaign CENTRO. The news came in tandem with another announcement from the agency that the cost of the campaign has moved from $15 to 20 million in the face of rising construction costs, inflation and supply chain shortages.

“Like many other agencies we learned that the cost to build a new home for the Latinx community was going to be significantly more than what we had originally budgeted for. This commitment from Ascendium couldn't come at a more meaningful time — helping us cross the $15 million mark as we head into the final stages of the campaign this Fall. I hope that others will see this commitment and take action as well,” says Karen Menéndez Coller, Centro's executive director.

At the event, which was focused this year on “our new home,” Centro also publicly kicked off campaign CENTRO and shared the latest renderings of the building from EUA architects. The event, a community picnic, was free and open to the public and occurred in Centro's back lot. Attendees were invited to partake in different activities from tie dying, to an oral history project, live music and more. 

“Ascendium values the support Centro has provided to Dane County’s Latinx population over the decades,” says Amy Kerwin, Ascendium’s vice president - education philanthropy. “With our shared focus on education and workforce training, we’re looking forward to seeing how Centro’s new space creates opportunities for expanded programming and continued community growth.” 

Centro will celebrate its 40 years in 2023 and hopes to still complete the campaign by the end of this year so it can focus on celebrating its anniversary and the grand opening of its new facility. 

 About Centro and Campaign CENTRO

Centro is the leading organization serving the Latinx community in Dane County. Core program areas include youth programs, workforce development, family wrap-around support, and community engagement. The organization has grown significantly in the last 10 years to keep pace with the growth of the Latinx community, now the fastest growing group in the city, county and state. The agency now sees upward of 7,000 individuals each year and offers more than 10,000 hours of programming annually.

Campaign CENTRO aims to raise $20 million to build a new home for the Latinx community on the Southside of Madison, WI and to seed development and expansion of the organization’s workforce and educational programs. With a new facility and seed funds for program expansion, Centro expects to double the number of young people and their families in afterschool programs, support at least 1,000 more individuals annually, and start development on a full bilingual nursing career pathway by 2030. More information:

About Ascendium Education Group

Ascendium Education Group is 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