Two Generations. One Future.

Ascend at the Aspen Institute is a hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move children and their parents toward educational success and economic security. Ascend takes a two-generation approach to our work – focusing on children and their parents together – and we bring a gender and racial equity lens to our analysis.

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Leading with Equity


In 2018, the Center for Effective Philanthropy found that 55 percent of nonprofit CEOs believe that it is ‘very’ or ‘extremely important’ for senior leadership teams to reflect their organizations’ target populations.  Yet still, studies indicate that the percentage of people of color in executive leadership positions in the industry has remined under 20 percent for the…

Leadership in Action


What would it take to make Colorado the best place to have a child and raise a thriving family? To answer that question, Ascend invested in a cohort of diverse leaders across systems and communities, on the Front Range and along the Western Slope – leaders with big ideas and leverage points to transform Colorado’s…

Aspen ThinkXChange 2019: 240 Leaders Convene to Advance Family Prosperity

Families must be at the center of any and all work to address intergenerational poverty. That’s why our Aspen ThinkXChange 2019, which focused on using a two-generation (2Gen) approach to advance family prosperity, began the way that it did – with more than 240 leaders (parents, practitioners, and policymakers) listening and learning from families. At…

New Framing Playbook: How to Talk About Two-Generation Approaches to Supporting Families

Have you ever felt that two-generation (2Gen) approaches to building family wellbeing should be a no-brainer, but that key audiences don’t quite “get it”? You’re not alone.   To pinpoint the communications challenges that come with 2Gen territory, analysts at the FrameWorks Institute compared what we say to how Americans think, identifying places where there’s…