Blog

Unlocking the Power of Parenting: Opportunities from the LEGO Idea Conference


“All parents want what’s best for their children. How do we close the gap for low-income parents to ensure they have the same opportunity and resources as other families in achieving those goals?” – Ariel Kalil, Ascend Fellow and Speaker, 2019 LEGO Idea Conference Earlier this month I flew to Billund, Denmark (population: just over…

New Fact Sheet and Mental Health Brief: Understanding and Supporting Student Parents


With 22 percent of the undergraduate student population comprised of parents with children, policymakers and institutions must explore the unique needs of this population and address the challenges that may prevent parents from attaining their degree. This includes determining what systems, services, and approaches best support their mental health needs. As part of the Aspen Postsecondary…

Social Capital Leads to Postsecondary Innovation


A “Basic Principles of Business Administration” textbook open on the table, a curious toddler – with a newfound interest in insects – in her lap, and a community of Parent Advisors supporting her education goals. This was the pathway to postsecondary inclusion and success envisioned by Ascend with the launch of the Aspen Postsecondary Success for Parents (PSP) Initiative on November 1, 2018: students who are parents supported…

The Power of Families to Dismantle Poverty


My big idea for children and families in this 2Gen space is to not diminish, not to minimize, not to reduce, not to disrupt poverty, but to dismantle it. If you think about a drug organization, if the police simply come and disrupt them, they just reassemble someplace else. So we want to dismantle that…

The Power of Health in Communities: Collaboration Across Communities, Across Sectors, and With Lived Experience


I am not applying a term from physics to the human spirit, nor am I applying that to our communities. When we talk about resilience and the Building Community Resilience Collaborative (BCR), we are talking about providing communities the buffers and supports to not only bounce back from adversity but to also bounce forward. So…

Transforming Communities Through Enterprise


[Through the Black Star Fund], we are looking to fund – on the for-profit technology investment side – diverse founders of color. My journey into this started when I was at Stanford, but in the immediate history, believe it or not, working with the rock star Prince. Around 2013, I had an opportunity to work…