Aspen Institute Ascend Network
Goal of the Ascend Network
The goal of the Aspen Institute Ascend Network is to mobilize empowered two-generation organizations and leaders to influence policy and practice changes that increase economic security, educational success, social capital, and health and well-being for children, parents, and their families.
The initial 58 organizations were selected from 24 states and the District of Columbia. They represent the leading edge of a national movement around two-generation approaches.
The selected organizations range from:
- community colleges seeking to better serve student parents and their children;
- to early childhood centers engaging parents in pathways to employment; and
- two-generation partnerships spearheaded by Promise Neighborhoods, United Ways, and women’s foundations.
They join the Ascend Fellows, anchor members of the Network and pioneers in solutions for families.
Through the Ascend Network, the Aspen Institute has invested $1.2 million in wide-reaching policy and practice innovations to increase families’ educational success and economic security.
Network members receive targeted support and tools, including:
- peer technical assistance;
- in-person and virtual action and learning convenings; and
- access to the Aspen Institute’s online and media platforms.
Network themes and areas for deeper exploration include:
- Platforms for Scale: such as Head Start, community colleges, United Ways, women’s funds and community foundations, community action agencies, and Promise Neighborhoods;
- State Policy Innovations: with a focus on early childhood, human services, postsecondary education, and measuring impact; and
- Evidence Building: that includes executive function, cultural competence, technology and apps, and justice-involved families.
Ascend catalyzed the Network with the 2012-2013 Ascend Fellowship.
The Fellowship invests in a cohort of diverse leaders with breakthrough ideas to build educational success and economic security for low-income families. These leaders have a vision for ensuring the American dream passes from one generation to the next. Ascend supports Fellows with resources and a platform to create, amplify, and expand proven and promising two-generation strategies that focus on children and parents together.
The 18-month fellowship spurs new partnerships, increases the impact of Fellows’ work, strengthens their leadership capacity and networks, fuels their passion, and — most important — inspires them to action.
See list of Ascend Network members’ events.