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National Education Philanthropy

We seek systemic change to improve outcomes for learners from low-income backgrounds nationwide.

Supporting Lasting Change

Ascendium is one of the nation's largest and most active postsecondary education and workforce training philanthropies. We channel the net proceeds from the services we provide and investments we make into our philanthropy, which funds initiatives that help learners from low-income backgrounds attain upward mobility.

The initiatives we fund are at every stage of development — from promising but untested approaches to proven practices ready to be brought to scale. To create an environment where evidence-based practices can take root, grow, and become the norm, we share insights from these initiatives with others in the postsecondary education and workforce training fields.

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Our philanthropy focuses on improving postsecondary learning and training systems so that they produce more equitable outcomes for learners from low-income backgrounds. Achieving lasting change is only possible through the combined efforts of many people and organizations.


Our philanthropy removes structural barriers to success, streamlines key learner transitions, expands postsecondary education in prison and supports rural postsecondary education and workforce training. Investment priorities in each focus area guide the grants we award and the impact we hope to achieve.


Learners from low-income backgrounds face obstacles at every step of their academic journey. Our philanthropy aims to clear a path for those who face a disproportionate number of obstacles, including first-generation students, rural community members, veterans, students of color and incarcerated adults.

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"We know that high-quality learning after high school is critical for building a rewarding career and achieving lifetime economic security. Consistent with Ascendium’s overarching mission, we believe all people deserve that opportunity, and we use our philanthropic resources to invest strategically in removing the barriers that disproportionately impact learners from low-income backgrounds. Whether through a postsecondary credential at a two- or four-year institution or workforce training tied to a specific industry, our grantmaking focuses on ensuring that all learners regardless of background have a path to upward mobility that works for them."


Ascendium's Education Philanthropy in 2023

$100+ million
$100+ million