Creating change requires vision, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a commitment to action. Ascend invests in leadership as a core part of its strategy to advance the economic security, educational success, and health and well-being of children and their families.

Aspen Institute Ascend Fellowships

Aspen Institute Ascend Fellowship: Invests in entrepreneurial visionaries with big ideas and concrete solutions for building an intergenerational cycle of opportunity for children and their families. Collectively, Fellows fuel the dynamic national conversation around opportunity and inequality and accelerate innovation and collaboration across communities and sectors. The 18-month values-based Ascend Fellowship lifts up leaders who reflect the diversity and talent of our country.

The Fellows:

  • Steward more than $7 billion in public services for families.
  • Serve more than 600,000 college and community college students.
  • Conduct cutting-edge research on brain science, early childhood, economic security, and health.
  • 54% people of color
  • 58% women, 42% men

Meet the Ascend Fellows: 2012-2013, 2015-2016

Colorado Children and Families Health and Human Services Fellowship: Seeks to make Colorado the best place to have a child and raise a healthy, thriving family. The Fellowship is designed to fuel the trajectory of exceptionally talented, results-oriented leaders who are making, and will continue to make, a significant impact on the lives of children and families with low incomes in Colorado.

The Fellows:

  • Lead health and human services in four of Colorado’s rural and urban counties, serving 1.4 million Coloradans;
  • Steward more than $1.2 billion in resources; and
  • Direct the state’s programs in Medicaid, early childhood, and public health
  • Head policy, research, and early childhood organizations
  • 35% people of color
  • 60% women, 40% men

Meet the Children and Families Fellows: 2017-2018

About the Fellowships:

From Reflection to Results

Using a cohort approach, each class of Fellows takes a personal and collective leadership journey that is grounded in the Socratic method, which calls for a critical examination of how one lives their life. More specifically, in the Ascend Fellowship, the Socratic method translates into a deliberate, reflective consideration of personal values and the attributes of leadership. Having grounded themselves in the values that drive their leadership, the Fellows move ahead to focus on vision, legacy, and strategies for increased impact and innovation that drive toward results for children and families. Each Fellowship consists of:

  • 4 Forums;
  • Interim check-ins and technical assistance;
  • Leveraging of the Aspen Institute platform to amplify work and leadership; and
  • An individual or collaborative action plan that furthers Fellows’ existing work and goals.

Building on a legacy of leadership: Since its founding in 1949, the Aspen Institute has invested in the world’s leaders. The Aspen model is based on enduring values and providing a nonpartisan venue for addressing the critical issues of the day. Aspen Institute Fellowships:

  • Cultivate leaders to tackle the great challenges of our times;
  • Consist of 17 Fellowships spanning regions and issues;
  • Include global, entrepreneurial, business, education, and policy leadership programs; and
  • Leverage the creativity, energy, and resources of strong leaders and organizations.