Ascentra Credit Union and its foundation, the Ascentra Credit Union Foundation, has pledged $50,000 to the Friends of MLK (FoMLK) organization in Davenport to help them reach their fundraising goal for MLK Park. This donation includes two separate $25,000 donations, one from the credit union and the other from the Ascentra Credit Union Foundation. This isn’t Ascentra’s first donation to the park; back in 2021, they donated $2,400 to help pay for the initial architectural plans for the project. This donation is in response to an $800,000 fundraising campaign to help pay for the remainder of the $1.2 million project.

“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.”

Pictured are (back row, left to right) Beth Grabin, Chief Financial Officer, Ascentra Credit Union; Vera L. Kelly, Vice President, NAACP #4019 and FoMLK Board Member; Linda Andry, President and CEO, Ascentra Credit Union; Ryan Saddler, Chief Executive Officer, FoMLK.; Brad Knutson, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Ascentra Credit Union; Alvaro Macias, Vice President of Business Development, Ascentra Credit Union; Mike Guster, Chief Operating Officer, FoMLK; (front row) Jennifer Naeve, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Ascentra Credit Union; Shirleen Martin, FoMLK Board Member; Shelly Ridgeway, Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Ascentra Credit Union; Charlene Upchurch-Taylor, FoMLK Board Member; Kiki Lawton, FoMLK Board Member. (submitted photo)

The MLK Park will be constructed at 501 Brady Street in Davenport and will be a community space for gathering, learning, remembrance and celebration. 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 might have been the location of a legendary jazz and dance spot called the Blue Bird Tavern. It will be surrounded by standing displays that will be living historical exhibits which will be regularly updated. The space will also include a stage, benches and a community space for farmers markets and vendor fairs.

“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 members, staff and the communities they serve. Since then, the foundation has donated nearly $900,000 in charitable contributions.