Like many cities across the country, Madison, Wisconsin has an equity gap in higher education attainment. The city overall is ranked the fifth most highly educated in the U.S. by personal finance site WalletHub. Yet more than half of the residents of Madison’s south side—home to high concentrations of low-income households and people of color—do not have a college credential.

To address these disparities head-on, Madison College is building a new campus in the heart of south Madison. Early support for the project was provided by two local funders: $10 million from the Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman Foundation, and $1.3 million from the American Family Dreams Foundation.

That funding was sufficient to start the project, but additional contributions were needed to complete the entire 75,000 sq. ft. facility, which was initially projected to be built in three phases over five years.

Rendering of new MATC facility


Ascendium is headquartered in Madison, and we saw an opportunity to speed up the process so the community could begin to benefit sooner. We committed $10.2 million to enable Madison College to complete the entire complex in one year. Academic programs, a comprehensive suite of student services, social service agencies, community-based organizations and community meeting spaces are all available at the new South Campus, which opened in September 2019.


Contact Grants Management Supervisor Nikki Wachter at