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Engaging with Media Showcases Grant Partners’ Positive Impact on Inequity

September 15, 2022 3-minute read
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Information can empower change. In light of this, Ascendium is growing its partnerships with media organizations that share our commitment to learners from low-income backgrounds. Showcasing stories about issues and solutions that impact these learners, our collaborations help connect practitioners, researchers, funders and policymakers with new ideas and programs. Through use of multiple media formats, they tell the stories of how system level changes can impact both individuals and groups of learners.

Recently, Ascendium has formed new collaborations with Chalk Beat, Rural Matters, Open Campus - Institute for Nonprofit News, Academic Intelligence and Restless Productions. These are additions to our growing list of media partners that include The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Hechinger Report and more. Whether featuring experts in a podcast or showcasing system-changing initiatives in a documentary, these relationships create opportunities to spread the word about the work of our grant partners with those in the field. Find out more about how our new media partners’ expertise and storytelling elevates issues and initiatives impacting learners from low-income backgrounds.

  • Chalk Beat shares free resources and stories on their website in their newsletter. They are nationally respected for their contribution to the policy and dialogue surrounding K-12 education. Partnership with Ascendium will support their expansion into postsecondary education coverage in Colorado and Indiana.
  • Rural Matters has already produced two seasons of successful podcasts with funding from Ascendium that highlight collaborations addressing the unique challenges surrounding rural postsecondary education. In the new season, they will produce a four-part podcast series that continues this theme, showcasing the assets and challenges of rural communities and spotlighting partnerships between postsecondary education institutions, employers and community leaders.
  • Open Campus is a nonprofit news organization that combines national and local experts to produce multi-perspective reporting on the nation’s colleges. With additional funding from Ascendium, a dedicated national reporter will pair with local networks to focus on rural and prison postsecondary education.
  • Academic Intelligence (AI) produces the Future U. podcast, which is hosted and produced by Jeff Selingo and Michael Horn, two award-winning experts in student success and the student experience. AI will produce twenty Future U. podcasts this season that highlight initiatives and resources on student success in postsecondary education. Ascendium will provide AI with input on topics for four episodes that align with our focus areas.
  • Restless Productions is a storytelling collective focused on social entrepreneurship. Ascendium will support its production of a documentary film, “UnlockED.” The film follows four Missouri inmates that were sentenced to life in prison and who taught themselves to code while building an open-source learning management system, UnlockED, to increase access to prison education. Bringing UnlockED to prisons across the country could help transform opportunities for postsecondary education in the prison space.

“Through media partnerships, we can provide resources to organizations spreading the word about timely, systemic innovations in postsecondary education and workforce training,” Brett Lindquist, Ascendium’s vice president – strategic communications, tells us.

Our portfolio of media partnerships helps us to bring more coverage to the issues our education philanthropy aims to address. It paves the way for widespread change by telling the stories of collaborations, policies and programs and their impact on learners.