Ascendium employees select 20 nonprofits for $1 Million in Good Neighbor Grants

Simpson Street Free Press, one of the nonprofits to benefit from Good Neighbor Grants. Photo supplied.

To mark Giving Tuesday, employees of higher education funding organization Ascendium chose 20 nonprofit organizations where they live and work to receive a total of $1 million in Good Neighbor Grants to 20 nonprofits.

Each nonprofit will receive a $50,000 grant to fund community projects like educational initiatives, workforce training programs, and support services for low-income families.

Each year, employeers are asked to research, nominate, and then vote for 20 nonprofits to receive a Good Neighbor Grant.

According to a press release from Ascendium, each nominated nonprofit “demonstrates exceptional dedication to community development, a proven track record of impactful work, and alignment with Ascendium’s mission to improve educational and workforce training outcomes for learners from low-income backgrounds. “This year, Ascendium employees selected 14 Madison-area nonprofits and six nonprofits in locations where remote employees are based to receive a grant.

This year’s Good Neighbor Grants recipients include the following:

Aldo Leopold Nature Center Inc. (Monona, Wis.)
All-In Milwaukee (Milwaukee, Wis.)
Arts @ Large (Milwaukee, Wis.)
A Woman’s Place (DeForest, Wis.)
Bayview Foundation  (Madison, Wis.)
Boys & Girls Club of the Twin Cities  (Saint Paul, Minn.)
Boys & Girls Club of West-Central Wisconsin (Tomah, Wis.)
Carol Mathey’s Center for Children and Families (Oakdale, Minn.)
Cottage Grove Volunteer Fire Department (Cottage Grove, Wis.)
FairShare CSA Coalition (Madison, Wis.)
Madison Public Schools Foundation (Madison, Wis.)
Porchlight (Madison, Wis.)
Safe Harbor (Aberdeen, S.D.)
Simpson Street Free Press (Madison, Wis.)
Sunbeam Family Services (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
Sunshine Place (Sun Prairie, Wis.)
The Rainbow Project (Madison, Wis.)
The Village Diaper Bank (Madison, Wis.)
Vera Court Neighborhood Center (Madison, Wis.)
Wisconsin Literacy (Madison, Wis.)

The selected nonprofits encompass a wide range of causes, including education, child welfare, literacy, and community development. This diverse approach underscores Ascendium’s commitment to addressing multifaceted challenges within the communities where employees live and work.

For Ascendium employee Liz Gross, it is empowering to play a part in securing a grant to a nonprofit that’s close to her heart.

“I started volunteering with FairShare CSA Coalition in 2017 as part of Ascendium’s Volunteer Time Off program. As a board member, I know how significant $50,000 is for FairShare,” she said in a statement. “The gift will help them scale their relatively new — yet already successful — apprenticeship and training programs so more aspiring farmers can build a long-term career in sustainable agriculture.”

Good Neighbor Grants are part of Ascendium’s employee giving program, Ascendium Cares. In its third year, Good Neighbor Grants are one of many opportunities at Ascendium for employees to engage with Ascendium’s mission to improve outcomes, particularly in education and workforce training, for learners from low-income backgrounds. These grants also direct much-needed financial resources to nonprofits that really resonate with employees and that are doing impactful work in their communities. Since 2021, 50 nonprofits have received Good Neighbor Grants for a total of $2.3 million in gifts from Ascendium.

“Good Neighbor Grants are just one of the many ways Ascendium gives back to the community each year,” Ascendium vice president Brett Lindquist, vice president said in a statement. “This year, we made several large investments in nonprofits helping Madison-area learners succeed, raised over $140,000 to gift to a dozen local United Ways, and awarded scholarships to over 700 apprentices in the Wisconsin Technical College System. Additionally, we’re on track to award nearly $100 million in grants through our national education philanthropy this year.”