Center for Black Excellence & Culture secures millions more in funding; more than $20M raised so far

MADISON, Wis. — Since launching its capital fundraising campaign late last year, more than 400 donors and businesses have donated to the Center for Black Excellence and Culture to make the concept a reality.

Thanks to a recent string of donations, including a recent $2.5 million pledge from Ascendium, the Center has now raised more than $20 million for the project’s construction. American Family Insurance and Summit Credit Union previously pledged large donations to support the Center’s work.

Project leaders launched the $36 million fundraising campaign in December 2021 with hopes the project would break ground later this year or early next year. The Center is slated to open in 2024.

When that time comes, project leaders say, the Center will serve as a space that uses history and culture to empower young Black people to be leaders in the Madison area in the future. It’s a plan that leaders hope will become a national model for innovative ways of supporting local communities.

RELATED: Center for Black Excellence and Culture launches multi-million dollar capital campaign, unveils floor plan

“The Center will allow people of all ages to immerse themselves in a community that believes in their promise and brilliance,” Ascendium’s Vice President of Education Philanthropy Amy Kerwin said. “The community’s coming together to support The Center has been incredibly inspiring. Ascendium looks forward to helping The Center foster education and workforce training opportunities and develop the next generation of leaders that will guide Madison and the surrounding communities to new heights.”

In addition to Ascendium’s $2.5 million donation, several other groups and individuals have recently contributed to the project, including the following:


  • Oscar Rennebohm Foundation, Inc.
  • Jan & Bill DeAtley
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Madison Gas & Electric Foundation
  • BMO Harris Bank
  • Lau & Bea Christensen


  • TDS Telecom
  • Jack & Sarah Salzwedel


  • Dave Boyer & Joan Philip

Organizations and individuals who want to contribute to the Center’s fundraising efforts can donate online.

FOR THE RECORD: An update on the Center for Black Excellence and Culture