• Engage: #2Gen

Two generations. One future.

Our Strategies

Ascend at The Aspen Institute is committed to creating opportunities for both children and parents to move up the economic ladder together, sustaining a legacy of economic security and educational success across generations. Ascend believes children and their parents can achieve their dreams together.

What We Do 

Build a Network and Political Will

Ascend has created a vibrant and visible new network of leaders to build political will for shifts in policies, practices, and resources for vulnerable families. The Ascend Fellowship brings together pioneering leaders who are piloting, replicating, and scaling two-generation approaches, enabling them to share knowledge, coordinate efforts, and translate groundbreaking ideas into action.  The $1 Million Aspen Institute Ascend Fund invests in solutions that tap the creativity, knowledge, and assets of all sectors of our society to create a cycle of opportunity for children and their parents.

Elevate Effective Two-Generation Solutions

Ascend fosters and amplifies innovative partnerships across programs, policies, and systems that have traditionally focused separately on children and parents, tapping cutting-edge research and the Ascend network of leaders from communities across the nation.  Through influential platforms, such as the Aspen ThinkXChange and the Aspen Ideas Festival, and through tools and publications for the field, Ascend casts a spotlight on breakthrough and proven strategies that impact parents and children together.  An emerging two-generation policy agenda will provide a blueprint for leaders to streamline, link, and connect resources for more effective solutions.

Spark and Expand a New Conversation

Ascend is sparking a new conversation around two-generation approaches that help parents, especially mothers, and their children seize opportunities to move up the economic ladder, breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.  At Ascend, we elevate the voices of families through focus groups and media partnerships, convene national forums and roundtable conversations among diverse experts and leaders, and showcase promising programs and policies through our website.

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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