News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Holly Clendenen, Executive Director, Southwest Tech Foundation and Real Estate Foundation
Phone: 608.822.2362
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date: June 29, 2017

American Bank endows Charger Dream Fund to help students in financial crisis

Fennimore -

The Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Foundation received a $10,000 endowment gift from American Bank to endow the Charger Dream Fund. The Charger Dream Fund is a grant program to help low-income students weather financial emergencies. Students can apply for small grants to help cover expenses just beyond their means, which allows them to quickly return focus to their academic pursuits.

The Charger Dream Fund was established by a grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation and provides small emergency grants up to $500 to help low-income students.  “In order to help our students succeed, we provide emergency grants to students who are faced with an unexpected financial emergency that may cause them to drop out of school due to financial constraints,” said Holly Clendenen, Executive Director of the Southwest Tech Foundation and Real Estate Foundation. “After receiving the initial grant from Great Lakes Higher Education, we started talking about the sustainability of the program and how an endowment was necessary.  American Bank is our first partner helping us towards this goal, and we are very appreciative of their lead gift.”

In honor of the College’s 50th anniversary, American Bank decided to make an endowment gift to support the Charger Annual Fund so that their gift can continue to help students year after year.  According to Kevin Raisbeck, Southwest Tech alumnus and American Bank President & CEO “American Bank is proud to invest in Southwest Tech and its efforts to provide emergency assistance to students who need it the most.  We value the education Southwest Tech provides and understand the importance of building an endowment to perpetually support the Charger Dream Fund.”
American Bank has 5 Wisconsin locations – Cuba City, Hazel Green, Lancaster, Fennimore and Platteville and more than $150 million in footings.  American Bank first opened its doors in 1896 under the name of The Farmers Bank located in Cuba City.  It continued to operate and grow, expanding with an office in Hazel Green, until 1998 when ATBankcorp, a family-owned bank holding company located in Dubuque, IA, purchased the 100% of the bank stock.   In 2001 the bank added a Lancaster location and all three Wisconsin offices were united under the new name American Bank and Trust-Wisconsin.  In 2002 an office in Fennimore was built, and the fifth location was added in Platteville in 2006.

Since March 2016 the Charger Dream Fund has assisted 102 students with nearly $40,000 of emergency grants.  In the 2012-2015 cohort of students assisted by emergency grants, 90% of the students were successful in the educational endeavors, either graduating or staying on track to graduate.  Most emergency grants help students with housing and transportation needs.

For more information on how to support the Charger Dream Fund or other support funds and scholarships, contact the Southwest Tech Foundation at 608.822.2362.


Photo Caption:  Southwest Tech President Jason Wood and Foundation Executive Director Holly Clendenen are pictured with American Bank Executive Vice President Pam Kreul, President & CEO Kevin Raisbeck, and Vice President Brad Bodenbender.

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