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Three Things We Know Work for Children and Families


People across the country are wondering what the next years will mean for their children, families, and communities. While these are complicated times, we should take heart in the fact that there are resilient and passionate leaders across the country who are raring to go for the well-being of America’s families. Concrete opportunities to bring…

Statement on Immigration Executive Order: Leaders Warn it Will Hurt Low-Income Families


The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the undersigned members of the 2015 class of Ascend Fellows and don’t necessarily represent the views of the Aspen Institute. Ascend Fellows are entrepreneurial leaders with the vision to advance the educational success, economic security, and health and well-being of children and families. It is with…

Transcend Politics: Keep Children and Families at the Center


Originally published in The Huffington Post We opened this week with millions of Americans honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, and we will close the week with the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. A dramatically different political, policy and power environment emerges with the incoming Trump Administration, one-party control…

Mr. Scruggs Goes to Washington


  I recently gave a talk at the LISC National Leadership Conference in Houston, Texas, alongside community development leaders from across the country to inspire, motivate, and energize practitioners in the field–stories about people who are activists, advocates, and ambassadors for positive transformation in their communities. I shared a story about how Mississippi County, Arkansas,…

It’s Time for a Paradigm Shift in Head Start


Last week the Office of Head Start released the much anticipated revision of the Head Start Program Performance Standards (standards). This is the first comprehensive revision of the standards since they were first released in 1975. These standards are more than a decade in the making since the bipartisan passing of the Improving Head Start…

Expanding the Potential of 2Gen Programs – 3 Ideas for Funders


The March 2016, Making Tomorrow Better Together, report by Ascend at the Aspen Institute was brutally honest on the value of what they called “Two-Generation 1.0 programs” — programs that at their heart were wonderfully intentioned to provide valuable services to both parents and children, but which produced only modest participant outcomes at a relatively high cost.…