This April marks the completion of my first year serving as Ascentra's President and CEO. After 15 years as EVP, Chief Financial Officer, my transition into the CEO role presented many opportunities to expand on my service to our membership, our staff, and the communities we serve. What a fantastic experience this continues to be! I am so very blessed to serve an organization that cares so much. Looking back over the past year, Ascentra's commitment to the People Helping People philosophy of the credit union movement shined bright through several acts of kindness.
The Hilltop Campus Village (HCV) is a non-profit organization that has served and sparked growth in Central Davenport for many years. In 2015, when Ascentra relocated its Central Davenport branch, the HCV moved their headquarters into the former branch building. In partnership, we agreed to let them use the location rent free so their financial resources could be used to directly impact economic development in Central Davenport. After six years of seeing the good work they’ve done, it felt right to donate the building to them so they can continue their mission. People helping people.
Economic development is incredibly important as it presents our region to be an attraction for new businesses, increased tourism, and a thriving area for residents to work and play. Our former CEO, Dale Owen, knew something good was on the horizon for Downtown Bettendorf and infused himself into the process. When it came time for Ascentra to build a new home office, there was no question that we would stay in Downtown Bettendorf. In 2019, we moved three blocks to the east into a four-story building housing over 80 staff members who support our branch operations. Our building is a reflection of Dale’s commitment to a thriving downtown and economic growth in our communities.
Sadly, Dale’s health deteriorated nearly a year later and his passing in November 2020 left us grieving our dear friend. On the evening of Monday, July 19, 2021, the day after Dale’s first heavenly birthday, I had one of the most cherished honors of my career leading a ceremony to dedicate Ascentra’s home office to him. During that ceremony we honored Dale’s mantra to “Be the Light” for others by presenting $25,000 donations to both the Rock Island-Milan Education Foundation and the Spring Forward Learning Center. In addition, five other organizations close to Dale’s heart were given $5,000 each for a total of $75,000. People helping people.
In 2014, the Ascentra Credit Union Foundation was established after the sudden passing of our former CEO Paul Lensmeyer. The mission of this foundation is to improve the quality of life for the membership of Ascentra Credit Union and further the philanthropic outreach in the communities we serve. In 2021, our Foundation was able to bless over 40 organizations with $111,400 in financial resources. Since inception, we have granted over $654,000 to organizations serving and making their own impact in our communities! People helping people.
We celebrate and honor both Dale and Paul through our annual Ascentra Credit Union Foundation golf outing! Both gentlemen enjoyed golf and loved to play in golf outings that would in turn raise funds for charitable organizations. In 2021, we renamed our foundation’s charity golf outing to the Paul & Dale’s Hack N’ Give Back Golf Outing! Pretty fitting given their so-so golf skills and their passion for giving back to others. Proceeds from the event go directly to the Ascentra Credit Union Foundation for future grant making to organizations within our communities. Last year, the event raised over $31,000 and over the past seven years, since its inception, has raised over $157,000. Amazing!!!
Ascentra is committed to the members and communities in which we serve and looks for ways for all to have access to the financial services they need to prosper. Our mission of people helping people correlates nicely with the mission of a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). In 2015, Ascentra was awarded the CDFI certification, allowing us access to grants that assist in our mission. In 2021, we were awarded their Rapid Response Grant in the amount of $1.8 million. Our current Real Life, Real Hope marketing campaign tells stories of our members who just needed another chance to improve their financial lives. This grant expands our ability to help our members even more! People helping people.
Ascentra has worked hard to provide relevant products and services to our membership. Our investment in physical locations, virtual locations, mobile access, credit and debit cards require top notch technology to support the ways our members access their funds and obtain financial products. Over the past year, we have worked diligently on an upcoming upgrade to the primary computer system that process your accounts. The upgrade to our new core processing system will take place over the weekend of July 31, 2022. Our goal is to complete the system upgrade with very little impact to you, our members. Please be on the lookout for further communication surrounding the system upgrade weekend as we will have limited branch operating hours to allow time to complete the upgrade.
I thank you for a wonderful and incredibly impactful first year of service together and I look forward to serving all of you for many years to come!