• Engage: #2Gen

Two generations. One future.


Did you know?

New parents and newborns simultaneously experience sensitive periods of brain development. Learn about interventions to strengthen the outcomes for both.

Learn morenext

Ascend at the Aspen Institute is the national hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move children and the adults in their lives toward educational success and economic security. We take a two- generation approach to our work and embrace commitment to gender and racial equity lenses. Ascend elevates effective policies and solutions that move children and their parents towards educational success and economic security.

Below, please find information about our partners, resources and publications, convenings, and other information about breakthrough ideas and policies that support children and parents, together. (Orange text links to various pages)

Click here to for an overview of Ascend's work.

The Ascend Network

Ascend fosters partnerships across programs, policies, and systems that have traditionally focused separately on children and their parents. We invest in cutting-edge research and the national network of Ascend leaders. 

Network Partners: In 2014, Ascend at the Aspen Institute invested $1.2 million in 58 leading and wide-reaching organzations working in policy, practice and research on innovations to increase families’ educational success and economic security. Ascend provides techincal assistance and network management to these organizations that are testing new models and identifing policy solutions to support the needs of children and parents together. 

Ascend Fellows: The Ascend Fellowship invests in diverse leaders from a range of sectors who have breakthrough ideas to build economic security, educational success, and health and well-being for low-income families in the US. Ascend at the Aspen Institute has launched two classes of Ascend Fellows (Inaugural and 2015) making a quantum leaps within their work using two-generation approaches that builds opportunities for children and their parents together.

Promising Programs

Ascend identifies promising practices among two-generation programs: from early childhood education centers to postsecondary institutions, and from community organizations to social capital-building programs. To learn more about these on-the-ground innovations, check out the Promising Programs profiles.

Building Family Economic Security: Lessons Learned from Impact Investing

Ascend at the Aspen Institute and the Program on Philanthropy of Social Innovation are gathering information about investments, tools, and strategies that have proven successful in the impact investment field and can be applied to building family economic security in the United States. Learn more about the guiding research questions and strategies.

Ascend Convenings

Ascend convenes the Network partners and experts in policy, researchers and philathropy leading 2Gen work at our main offices in Washington, DC, as well as around the country. The convenings provide opportunity for leaders to engage in an in-depth dialogue on two-generation strategies applicable to create a legacy of family economic security on the local, state and national scale.

Aspen ThinkXChange

Aspen ThinkXChange is the premier national convening of leaders with bold ideas for creating an intergenerational cycle of opportunity for low-income American families. Ascend has hosted three Aspen ThinkXChanges gathering dynamic leaders from across sectors to identify opportunities and solutions for moving children and their parents together toward stability and success. 

Click on each ThinkXChange to access resources and learn more about the agenda, speakers, tools and outcomes.

Visit our events page to learn about upcoming and past Ascend-hosted in-person and virutual events.