What’s In Our Toolbox?


It’s the dog days of August. In DC, that means muggy afternoons, empty circles (Dupont, Logan), and quiet commutes. At Ascend, that means preparing for the Aspen ThinkXChange, our right-around-the-corner national forum on two-generation solutions. It also means ensuring our 2Gen Toolbox is ready and accessible to you – leaders in the field who want to understand the "how" behind two-generation approaches.

This month, we’ve been sweating it out over what tools are most relevant – and highest quality – for two-generation organizations, and ensuring that the concrete lessons from the Ascend Network are translated into materials that other Partners and leaders in the field can learn from. With the generous permission of the Ascend Network and Fellows, we have started with a series of briefs, case studies, and assessments that we hope will deepen the 2Gen lens for organizations no matter how advanced their work in this area may already be.

Our goal for the Toolbox is to facilitate learning, adoption, and scale of two-generation approaches. Here’s a snapshot of what you can find – and what you can expect in the months ahead:

Taking it to the States: Policy Points
State policy centers in Utah, Washington, Montana, and Colorado are key Network Partners that have developed a series of briefs on opportunities to integrate a two-generation lens on legislative action. These include:
• tips on adapting TANF policy for 2Gen outcomes;
• opportunities for a 2Gen lens in Earned Income Tax Credit policy; and
• how to address chronic abstenteeism from 2Gen perspective.

Talking 2Gen: Vision Statements and Assessments
How can you get different partners to rally around the 2Gen framework and identify opportunities to collaborate in the interest of 2Gen outcomes? Whether a community-based multi-partner effort like the United Way of Greater Austin, or a national affiliate organization like National Council of La Raza, Network Partners are developing tips for bridging gaps in services and bringing people on board. These include:
• brief on developing vision statements for 2Gen; and
• core qualities and assessment for Latino-serving organizations seeking to be more two-generational.

The Institute Model: 2Gen in Head Start
Head Start is often called the “original 2Gen program.” This year the National Head Start Association, a Network Partner, put the 2.0 in 2Gen by hosting an Institute on the successes and challenges of six two-generational Head Start sites. Lessons included:
• geography and place matters for key supports for families, like transportation;
• formative evaluations can be a smart way to kick-off data collection and evidence-building;

What’s Ahead?
Our Network Partners are busy themselves this month, finishing up tools like a programmatic assessment for 2Gen Adverse Childhood Experiences; an evaluation of a parent-mentor program in rural Colorado; and an executive function curriculum for children and parents together. Bookmark this page and click back this fall for these and many more!