Ascentra Credit Union Foundation partners with Safer Foundation to adopt youth empowerment session

BETTENDORF, IA (May 11, 2022) — On average, nearly 350 young adults, ages 16 to 18 are referred for detainment by Scott County law enforcement each year. Safer Foundation Quad Cities’ Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) is focused on serving youth who have disengaged from high school and/or have been involved with the criminal legal system. YEP helps at-risk youth overcome barriers in developing critical life and workplace skills, earning their high school equivalency diploma and linkage to employment, job training, or post-secondary education with the overarching goal of a safer community.

After learning about this need and what Safer Foundation provides, the Ascentra Credit Union Foundation (ACUF), the philanthropic arm of Ascentra Credit Union, stepped in to adopt one of YEP’s six class sessions for 2022.

“Ascentra’s investment in Safer’s Youth Empowerment Program (YEP), Adopt-A-Class campaign, will provide needed support for students who did not do well in the traditional school setting,” said Erica Lee, Director, Safer Foundation Quad Cities. “YEP serves approximately 60 students each year, assisting with overcoming the barriers to self-sufficiency by providing them with academic tools and life skills readiness needed to reach their goals. Knowing that Ascentra, a leader in their industry, understands the importance of investing in the education and well-being of our community’s young people is reassuring and a confidence booster for all involved.”

Safer Foundations has been serving the Quad Cities since 1976 and equips individuals with the knowledge and skills required to compete in the workforce, contribute positively to their community and live fulfilling and successful lives. They are the only community program that exclusively targets and assists individuals with criminal legal system involvement.

The ACUF was created to continue the service and generosity of the late Paul Lensmeyer, Ascentra Credit Union’s President and CEO from 1993 to 2013. Paul lived and breathed the Listening, Caring, Doing What’s Right mantra that the credit union is inspired by every day.

“Safer Foundation has identified a need to help underserved young adults in the Quad Cities”, said Linda Andry, President and CEO, Ascentra Credit Union. “This correlates with the People Helping People philosophy in which the credit union industry is founded on and directly relates to Ascentra’s Listening, Caring, Doing What’s Right approach to making a difference in the communities we serve”.

Last year, Safer Foundation’s YEP students exceeded projections for attaining high school equivalency diplomas and job starts. In addition, a 12-month follow up with students revealed that nearly 90% have successfully remained in the community without requiring a higher level of care.


Ascentra Credit Union Foundation (ACUF) partners with Safer Foundation and adopts a Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) session for 2022. Pictured left to right is Kaitlyn Holland, program manager, youth empowerment program; Brian Monroe, resource development manager, Safer Foundation Quad Cities; Erica Lee, director, Safer Foundation Quad Cities; Linda Andry, president and CEO, Ascentra Credit Union; Jennifer Naeve, senior vice president and CMO, Ascentra Credit Union. The ACUF is the philanthropic arm of Ascentra Credit Union.


About Ascentra Credit Union Foundation

Established in 2013, to honor the memory of Ascentra Credit Union President and CEO Paul Lensmeyer and to meet the charitable and educational objectives of the Board of Directors of the credit union, the mission of the Ascentra Credit Union Foundation is to improve the quality of life for the membership of Ascentra Credit Union and further the philanthropic outreach in the communities the credit union serves. The focus of the foundation is on funding work to enhance youth development, expand credit education opportunities, foster community development, support cultural activities, and invest in ways to enhance the financial viability of the underserved.  More information can be found at

About Safer Foundation:
Safer Foundation believes we can change a generation, one person at a time by supporting, through a full spectrum of services, the efforts of people with arrest and conviction records to become employed, law-abiding members of the community and, as a result, reduce recidivism. For more information about Safer Foundation visit


Jennifer Naeve
Chief Marketing Officer
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Barry Shaw
Marketing Team Lead
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