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Our Focus Areas

We know learners from low-income backgrounds have the same abilities as high-income learners. Ascendium is working to change postsecondary and workforce training systems so that low-income learners have the same opportunities for academic and career success. To that end, we award exploration, validation and scaling grants in four focus areas that foster upward social mobility.


We hope our work contributes to a future where more learners from low-income backgrounds achieve upward mobility through postsecondary education and workforce training.

News and updates

November 27, 2023 Newsletter

Introducing our New Deputy Director of Education Grantmaking, Ascendium Acts on Grant Partner Feedback, and More

  • Introducing our New Deputy Director of Education Grantmaking, Dr. Janice Hicks
  • Ascendium Acts on Grant Partner Feedback to Refine Philanthropic Practices
  • New Resources Aim to Increase Understanding of CBE Program Designs
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October 19, 2023 Newsletter

Keith Witham Reflects on the Past Six Months, Ascendium Discusses the State of Postsecondary Education in Prison, and More

  • Keith Witham Reflects on His First Six Months as Vice President of Education Philanthropy
  • Ascendium’s Molly Lasagna and Others Discuss the State of Postsecondary Education in Prison
  • Strategic Media Partnerships Amplify Solutions to Rural Learners’ Challenges
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September 21, 2023 Newsletter

Tackling Economic Inequity, Validation Grant Guidance Released, and Part 2 of Q&A with UIA’s Bridget Burns

  • How a Coalition of Nonprofit, Private Colleges Is Tackling Economic Inequity
  • Validation Grant Guidance Released for Partners Evaluating Effectiveness of Innovations and Reforms
  • Q&A: UIA’s Bridget Burns on Helping Struggling Students Get Back on Track (Part 2)
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