The Rich Foundation awards gift to Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth

The Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth at Kennesaw State University recently received a significant gift from The Rich Foundation.

The Academy, which provides students with intellectual and developmental disabilities a college experience and personal growth through the auditing of college-level courses, is one of only 250 similar programs nationwide and unique in Georgia.

“What Kennesaw is doing for these high school graduates is amazing,” said Tom Asher, president of The Rich Foundation. “They not only learn job skills that can enhance their future but also valuable social skills by living in the KSU environment. Our hope is that it will expand throughout the state.”

The Rich Foundation’s contribution will enable the Academy to enhance its curriculum, with faculty researching a model for it to achieve financial sustainability.

Although the foundation has donated to Kennesaw State in the past, this is the first contribution that will benefit the Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth. The Rich Foundation’s generosity will play a substantial role in the program’s development in the upcoming academic year.

The Rich Foundation is a private Atlanta foundation that supports arts, civic, education, health, environment and social welfare. Originally established in 1943 in connection with the Atlanta-based Rich’s Department Store to distribute a portion of the company’s profits to local nonprofit organizations, the foundation has made a considerable impact on charitable and educational sectors in metro Atlanta. Since 1967, the Rich Foundation has awarded more than $50 million in grants to local organizations.

Anne Berg, who joined Rich’s Department Store in 1956, retired last year from more than five decades of service to the company and the foundation. Berg’s commitment to Rich’s eventually led her to the position of vice president of public and community relations prior to her role as grant consultant for the foundation.

Asher, the current president of the foundation, plans to continue the foundation’s mission. An Atlanta native, Asher has served on The Rich Foundation’s board since 1982 and as foundation president the past three years. The Rich’s legacy has been part of Asher’s family, as his father was an executive at Rich’s for many years as well as a trustee of The Rich Foundation. Asher dedicated nearly five decades to the investment brokerage industry in Atlanta before retiring and has served on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations.