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We believe in the promise of a better life no matter where you started – and the power of education and training beyond high school to transform the lives of learners from low-income backgrounds.

Learn More About Our Funding Strategy
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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 reach their education and career goals, equity gaps are eliminated and all postsecondary learning is valued and validated.

To assess the progress of our strategy on the changes we seek, we monitor data points related to first-year persistence, degree and credential completion, time to completion and job placement. 

News and Updates

July 22, 2021 Newsletter

Rural community colleges respond to health crisis, a look at non-traditional models for students transitioning from training to the workforce and more

  • Resources Help Rural Community Colleges in Aftermath of COVID-19 Health Crisis
  • An Interest in Innovation: New Grants Explore Non-Traditional Models
  • Keith Witham Named Ascendium’s New Deputy Director - Education Grantmaking
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June 17, 2021 Newsletter

Our Vision for Learning and Impact, Ascendium Education Philanthropy on Social Media, New Rural Matters Podcasts and More

  • Learning and Impact at Ascendium
  • Starting this Month, Find Ascendium's Education Philanthropy News and Info on Social @AscendiumEP
  • New Podcasts Shine Light on Rural Voices, Partners
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June 15, 2021 News Release

Expanded Programming from Operation Fresh Start Prepares Dane County Youth for Careers in Construction and Conservation

Operation Fresh Start is creating a new Conservation Graduate Crew pathway, providing pre-apprentice training for young adults just starting careers in conservation work. A $250,000 grant from Ascendium will support the new pathway, as well as the existing Construction Graduate Crew pathway.

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