Two generations. One future.


The Aspen ThinkXChange

The Aspen ThinkXChange

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Aspen Asks

The New York Times' David Leonhardt and Ascend's Anne Mosle: Aspen Asks

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Two Gen Education

Two Generations Strategies In Education: A Roundtable

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Did you know?

A body of research demonstrates the connection between maternal education and child outcomes

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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.


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 making a quantum leaps within their work using two-generation approaches that builds opportunities for children and their parents together.

Ascend Showcases Two-Generation Pioneers in Colorado and Washington Metropolitan Area in Momentum on Our DoorstepThe Aspen Institute has been proud to call both Colorado and the District of Columbia home. Today both are breaking new ground on behalf of 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.

Aspen ThinkXChange

The theme of the 2014 ThinkXChange was the power of networks to create lasting, two-generation change in the lives of American families. The Ascend Network members represent 24 states and the District of Columbia and include local, state, and national pioneers. Along with the Ascend Fellows, anchor members of the Network, they serve our country’s most vulnerable families. With the same strong commitment to racial equity and a gender lens that is a hallmark of Ascend’s work, the Aspen ThinkXChange is a powerful platform for two-generation leaders to present big ideas, share data and research, understand best and next practices and policies, and identify evidence-based opportunities for children and their parents.

The 2012 Aspen ThinkXChange convened more than 150 dynamic leaders to debate opportunities, challenges, and solutions for moving children and their parents toward educational success and economic security.  To learn more about the agenda, speakers, and tools from the 2012 Aspen ThinkXChange, click here.

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.

Roundtables and Forums

Ascend hosts closed-door and open events at our main offices in Washington, DC, as well as around the country. These convenings build on the values-based approach of The Aspen Institute.

To learn more about Ascend-hosted events and roundtables, click here.

Parent Voices: Dreams For The Future?See allnext

“Maybe just an opportunity to get a better job or to advance. You know, get a job and then maybe be able to advance.”

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