While 2022 saw much of the country finally turn a corner on the challenges posed by the COVID-19 health crisis, for many nonprofit organizations, there is little time to relax. These organizations require sustained funding and resources to meet the needs of community members even in the best of times. During times of hardship, those needs are exacerbated. That's why Ascendium stepped up its support this year with over $6.6 million in giving to nonprofits where its employees live and work.
The over $6.6 million is more than five times our giving total from 2021. In May, we donated $2.5 million to aid in the construction of The Center for Black Excellence and Culture, slated for completion in 2023. Those funds will sponsor a Youth and Student Center wing to equip learners of all ages with the tools they need to succeed. In July, we gave $2.5 million to Centro Hispano of Dane County, which will go toward the organization's new, 25,000 square-foot facility and expanded programming.
"While Ascendium's philanthropic mission as a national funder focuses on the power of education and training beyond high school to transform the lives of learners from low-income backgrounds, we recognize the importance of flexibility in responding to the needs of the communities in which our employees live and work," says Brett Lindquist, Ascendium's vice president - strategic communications. "We're always thinking about how we can further embody a culture of giving."
To that end, we also continued to support our communities through our corporate giving program, Ascendium Cares. This year, Ascendium's employees donated over 4,000 hours of their time directly helping nonprofit organizations in their local communities. This includes over 900 hours spent volunteering through paid volunteer time off, as well as over 3,300 hours spent volunteering outside of work. Employees help with everything from ensuring that people with food insecurities receive much needed meals to creating birthday boxes for children who may not otherwise have a birthday celebration. Volunteering also results in a financial donation through the Dollars for Doers program, in which Ascendium matches volunteer hours with a donation to eligible nonprofits where employees volunteered. In 2022, that resulted in an additional $19,000 donated to nonprofits.
Additionally, our employees donated over 1,750 new school supplies through the annual Collect for Kids Supply Drive and are currently collecting clothes, toys and household items for a Share Your Holiday campaign.
Here are a few more highlights from Ascendium's year in giving.
- $157,000 to local United Ways and Community Shares of Wisconsin as part of a 2022 Unite for Our Communities campaign. That amount includes a four-to-one corporate match for every dollar pledged by employees.
- $249,000 donated to 87 nonprofits through Triple Your Impact campaign. That amount includes a three-to-one corporate match for every dollar donated by employees.
- $1 million to nonprofits through Good Neighbor Grants, which are $100,000 grants given to 10 organizations in our communities that share Ascendium's commitment to increasing education and workforce training outcomes for learners from low-income backgrounds.
- $250,000 to the Urban League of Greater Madison, which aids the organization in expanding its training academy for commercial driving and creating a new training academy for careers in the solar installation and related renewable energy field.
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 ascendiumeducation.org.