Ascendium is pleased to announce the approval of over $17 million in new grants. Made across our focus areas, these grants demonstrate our continued commitment to removing obstacles so more learners from low-income backgrounds can succeed. We look forward to learning from our grant partners as they explore innovative approaches and evaluate the effectiveness of emerging best practices.
Here is a sample of the grants that were approved.
- A grant to Education Commission of the States continues our investment in its Strong Start to Finish initiative, which aims to reform developmental education so every student succeeds in their first year of college. With our support, Education Commission of the States will accelerate the implementation of reforms shown to increase the success of learners from low-income backgrounds in up to eight state postsecondary education systems. This grant exemplifies Ascendium’s commitment to supporting the scaling of best practices to increase college completion rates and decrease students’ time to degree.
- A grant to Merit America supports its goal to help 20,000 learners move from low-wage jobs to in-demand technology careers over the next three years. Our $10 million investment will supplement $45 million available from the Google Career Certificate Fund, which was co-designed by Merit America to bring unique financing to the workforce development sector. This grant demonstrates our commitment to innovation and to exploring diverse pathways to and through postsecondary education and workforce training.
- A grant to Ithaka S+R supports the enhancement and expansion of its Transfer Explorer tool so that more transfer students have prior credits applied to a four-year degree. This has the ability to reduce both the cost and time it takes to earn a degree, much to the benefit of learners from low-income backgrounds and students of color, who are most likely to face transfer barriers. Through this grant, we hope to learn how the Transfer Explorer tool and related data collection and reporting practices contribute to greater operational efficiencies and better transfer credit processing at scale.
- A grant to the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Foundation supports the design and launch of a multi-year initiative in which 12 rural chambers will engage employers, training providers and other key stakeholders in the creation of workforce training pathways designed to qualify learners from low-income backgrounds for good jobs that exist in their community or remotely. This grant aims to expand job training models in high-demand fields for rural learners. Through it, we hope to identify strategies that could be replicated in more rural communities.
“These latest grants epitomize our multi-pronged approach to funding initiatives at every stage of development, from promising but untested practices to proven approaches ready to be brought to scale,” says Vice President - Education Philanthropy Amy Kerwin. “We are excited to learn from these projects as they unfold, creating new and expanded opportunities for learners from low-income backgrounds as they pursue their education and career goals.”