In conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 16, 2023, Ascentra Credit Union and its foundation, the Ascentra Credit Union Foundation has pledged to donate a total of $50,000 to the Friends of MLK (FoMLK) organization in Davenport, Iowa. This donation will help them reach their fundraising goal for the first formal memorial of Dr. Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. in the City of Davenport, known as the MLK Park. This donation includes two separate $25,000 donations. One from the credit union itself and the other from Ascentra’s charitable foundation, the Ascentra Credit Union Foundation.
“We are honored to be a partner in this investment and in preserving our black history in downtown Davenport,” said Linda Andry, President and CEO, Ascentra Credit Union. “Thank you to the Friends of MLK for all the hard work they are putting into making the park a reality for our community to experience, learn and enjoy.”
This donation is in response to an $800,000 fundraising campaign to help pay for the remainder of the $1.2 million project.
The MLK Park will be constructed on a location rich in black history at 501 Brady Street in Davenport, and will create a community space for gathering, learning, remembrance, and celebration. It will be surrounded by standing displays that will serve as living historical exhibits which will be regularly updated to keep the community returning and learning. The space will also include a stage, sitting benches and a community space for farmers markets and vendor fairs.
The location’s history dates as far back as the 1880s where it was once the location of a mixed-race restaurant, entertainment venue and rooming houses. It may also have been the location of a legendary jazz and dance spot called the Blue Bird Tavern.
The FoMLK is a non-profit corporation organized exclusively to empower and encourage the Quad City area to practice civil and human rights for all races, colors, and creeds as exemplified by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“We are excited that the completion of this park is in our near future,” said Ryan Saddler, Chief Executive Officer, Friends of MLK, Inc. “This dream wouldn’t happen without the many generous donors of our community like Ascentra and the Ascentra Credit Union Foundation. We are blessed to have the support of the Quad Cities community and look forward to honoring the memory and legacy of Dr. King through this park.”
The Ascentra Credit Union Foundation was created in 2015, following the unexpected death of Ascentra’s then President and CEO, Paul Lensmeyer, to continue his legacy of making a difference in the lives of our members, staff and the communities we serve. Since then, the foundation has made nearly $900,000 in charitable contributions.
This isn’t the first time that Ascentra has contributed to the planning and development of this anticipated park. In 2021, they donated $2,400 to the FoMLK to help pay for the initial architectural plans for the project.