Ascend FCU Ascend FCU

The $3 billion, Tullahoma, Tenn.-based Ascend Federal Credit Union donated $50,000 to Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, located in Nashville. Ascend employees raised funds for the hospital by participating in the credit union's annual Miracle Jeans Day and Miracle Treat Day. Over several years, Ascend donated $100,000 toward the construction of the hospital's Pediatric Heart Institute, a 38-bed, 40,000-square-foot space on the 10th floor. A room on the 10th floor was named for Ascend in honor of its commitment to the health of children in Middle Tennessee and beyond. Ascend also has been a presenting sponsor of 107.5 FM The River's "River of Hope Radiothon" for 10 years, and Ascend President/CEO Caren Gabriel has served on the Children's Hospital Advisory Board since 2018. Ascend has donated more than $258,000 to the children's hospital since 1998. Pictured from left to right are Erin Spence, assistant vice president of business development; Leslie Copeland, chief strategy officer; Gabriel; Matt Jernigan, EVP; and Leah Bowen, marketing project lead (all with Ascend).

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has been immersed in the credit union industry for over a decade. She first joined CU Times in 2011 as a freelance writer, and following a two-year hiatus from 2013-2015, during which time she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union), she re-joined the CU Times team full-time as managing editor. She was promoted to executive editor in 2019. In the earlier days of her career, Chilingerian focused on news and lifestyle journalism, serving as a writer and editor for numerous regional publications in Oregon, Louisiana, South Carolina and the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, she holds experience in marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space. At CU Times, she covers People and Community news, cybersecurity, fintech partnerships, marketing, workplace culture, leadership, DEI, branch strategies, digital banking and more. She currently works remotely and splits her time between Southern California and Portland, Ore.