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Changes in Education Philanthropy Support Evolving Needs of Learners from Low-Income Backgrounds

July 13, 2023 2-minute read
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Carolynn Lee (left) and Stephanie Nichols (right)

Ascendium’s Education Philanthropy is growing and adapting our organizational structure to support our grantmaking. We are pleased to announce the promotion of two internal leaders to mission-critical positions and the opening of another key position. These changes will strengthen Ascendium’s grant pipeline management, strategy, and partnerships, allowing Ascendium to meet the evolving needs of learners from low-income backgrounds.

In Carolynn Lee’s new role as deputy director of education grantmaking, she leads and supports grantmaking teams with a focus on streamlining learner transitions and supporting rural postsecondary education and workforce training. Carolynn joined Ascendium in 2017 as a program officer addressing key learner transitions through strategic grantmaking. As deputy director, she continues to facilitate equitable and accessible transitions into and between postsecondary education and workforce training for learners from low-income backgrounds. If a point of contact changes for any grant partner during this transition, they will be notified.

As business systems analyst, Stephanie Nichols is the lead strategist and administrator for Ascendium’s grants management system. She communicates with internal and external partners to ensure that our grantmaking tools and processes are efficient and easy to use. Stephanie also averts potential challenges by developing and carrying out regular system updates, evaluations, and training. Having built Ascendium’s online platform and reporting systems, her work ultimately enables Ascendium to increase the effectiveness of its grantmaking processes based on secure, accurate data.

In addition to these promotions, Ascendium continues to grow with the posting of a new deputy director for education grantmaking role. This individual will work alongside Carolynn Lee, the grantmaking team, and the whole Education Philanthropy division to advance our philanthropic mission. Interested in creating opportunity for learners from low-income backgrounds as deputy director of education grantmaking? Learn more and apply.

"As we continue to grow our team’s capacity to pursue Ascendium's philanthropic mission, we're delighted to benefit from the leadership of Carolynn and Stephanie in their new roles," says Vice President of Education Philanthropy Keith Witham. "These promotions, along with the hiring of a new deputy director, will position us well as we seek to deepen our impact and grow our grantmaking over the next few years."