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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

January 18, 2024 Newsletter

Postsecondary Education and Workforce Training Trends, Ascendium Welcomes Three Members, and More

  • Postsecondary Education and Workforce Training Trends We’re Watching in 2024
  • Ascendium Welcomes Three Members to Education Philanthropy Team
  • Grants to Community-Based Organizations Aim to Strengthen Workforce-Aligned Training Pathways for Rural Learners
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January 16, 2024 News Release

At 50, Literacy Network Empowers Dane County More Than Ever Thanks to Funding from Ascendium

As Literacy Network celebrates 50 years of transforming lives through literacy, the organization faces an unprecedented demand for its services. More than 55,000 adults in Dane County struggle with low literacy — enough to fill more than three Kohl Centers (source: Literacy Network). Literacy Network supports them by offering literacy services to improve their skills in English language communications, reading comprehension, and information technology. As a result, these adults advance their careers, help their kids succeed in school, become U.S. citizens, understand health information, and obtain their high school diploma or other degrees.

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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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