Contact: Lindsay Broyhill
Ascend at the Aspen Institute
10 Community Organizations Selected to Join Aspen Family Prosperity Innovation Community
Will support and leverage ideas from Family Prosperity that strengthen work-family supports
Washington, DC – The Aspen Institute announced the selection of 10 Ascend Network Partners to join the Aspen Family Prosperity Innovation Community (Family Prosperity), a prestigious learning and action community created by Ascend at the Aspen Institute to improve economic opportunities for working families in the United States, especially those who struggle to make ends meet. Ascend launched Family Prosperity in February to develop and share bold strategies and solutions that strengthen the health, well-being and financial stability of families with low incomes.
The 10 organizations chosen from the Ascend Network to participate in this learning and action community are listed below. As part of Family Prosperity, these organizations join six of the nation’s most visionary and results-driven organizations in the examination and enhancement of families’ economic security – The American Enterprise Institute, The Center for Public Justice, Family Values @ Work, Legal Aid at Work, National Partnership for Women and Families and the Urban Institute – and 13 distinguished experts and thought leaders who serve as advisors, providing additional perspective, content expertise and partnership to Family Prosperity.
The 10 Ascend Network Partners joining Family Prosperity bring proven track records of strong practice, research and policy expertise, and will share perspectives of practitioners and families in communities across the country. This group joins Family Prosperity in focusing on vital concerns to working families, including access to quality child care, overcoming poverty, achieving education goals and surmounting career barriers.
Family Prosperity will rethink, develop and advance bipartisan practices and policies that strengthen the health and economic stability of families with low incomes, with an emphasis on solutions that power well-being where it has been short-circuited. Over the course of nearly two years, Family Prosperity will craft and share new strategies, best practices, ideas, and recommendations to support children and families in the U.S. that builds on leading-edge policies and research, insights from organizations on-the-ground and the families they serve, and dynamic perspectives and expertise from leaders in a variety of fields.
“Ascend Network Partners are on the ground innovators making a concrete difference for families’ economic and health well-being and pioneering solutions that enable parents to thrive at work, community, and at home. We are thrilled that these 10 organizations are joining the Aspen Family Prosperity Innovation Community,” said Anne Mosle, vice president at the Aspen Institute and executive director of Ascend at the Aspen Institute. “They bring us closer to the perspectives and expertise of families directly impacted by policies and practices – and most importantly, the most effective solutions.”
Ascend at the Aspen Institute is the national hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move children and their parents toward educational success, financial security and health and well-being. Launched in 2014, the Ascend Network serves 3.5 million people annually across 42 states and the District of Columbia and consists of over 270 organizations. With its diverse mix of policymakers, practitioners, and philanthropists, the Ascend Network represents the leading edge of programmatic, policy and research efforts focused on a two-generation (2Gen) approach: serving children and parents together for stronger and better family outcomes.
Family Prosperity builds on the best of the Aspen Institute’s tradition of supporting leaders, building networks, and sharing and sparking innovation. This collective is made possible through the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
“Aspen Family Prosperity is a rare national effort that is bringing together leaders from all sectors of society, political affiliations, and points of view to think about the future of work with the health and well-being of children and families with low income at the center,” concluded Mosle.
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The newest members of Family Prosperity include:
All Our Kin – Children’s early years lay the foundation for future learning, behavior and health and have a huge impact on brain development into adulthood. A smart and prosperous society depends upon a thoughtful and healthy population. Unfortunately, high-quality child care, especially for infants and toddlers, is in short supply and expensive. Worst of all, quality is inconsistent across programs. All Our Kin, with multiple offices in Connecticut and New York City, works to eliminate that inconsistency by building child care programs that give the youngest and most vulnerable children a strong start in life. With the support of Family Prosperity, All Our Kin will create policy recommendations for state and local leaders to ensure that high-quality and affordable childcare is available widely.
Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) – New Mexico residents include a significant number of children who are experience poverty and don’t have access to food at every meal time. To fight food insecurity and help students with children take control of their financial futures, CNM will teach its practical financial literacy curriculum to families in a two-generation approach. For 12 weeks, student-parents will participate in an financial literacy course offered in Spanish and English. Students and their children will receive dinner and work together on specially-tailored family financial literacy homework assignments. CNM in Albuquerque is dedicated to help students and their children achieve success.
Community Caring Collaborative (CCC) – Creating positive outcomes for working families is a team effort. CCC brings together partners from across Washington County, Maine to help parents raise healthy children. Because of CCC’s hard work, parents continue their education, their children receive high-quality early education, and families have the foundation to feel hopeful about the future and connected to their communities. By encouraging collaboration and values-based decision making between two-generation partner organizations, Community Caring Collaborative removes barriers to well-being and increases opportunities for people to support their families and attain their dreams.
MOMS Partnership (MOMS) – There are deep stigmas attached to mental health conditions despite many Americans experiencing one or more of those conditions. The public inaccurately tends to regard mental health as an individual matter, unconnected to social and economic mobility. The Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership addresses mental health as an issue of family wellness that begins with mothers. Founded in 2010 in New Haven, Connecticut, MOMS has reduced the number of women who suffer mental health challenges by partnering with women who are under-resourced, over-burdened and struggling with depression. Mothers who complete MOMS programs have a 76 percent decrease in symptoms of depression, and a 50 percent increase in the likelihood of returning to work for 15 or more hours a week. The organization is dedicated to helping mothers get the mental health support necessary to care for their children emotionally and financially.
Springboard to Opportunities (Springboard) – Springboard connects families living in affordable housing to resources and programs that help those families accomplish their personal and professional goals. Springboard works directly with families, as well as establishes strategic partnerships with organizations that help residents identify their own challenges and participate in designing resolutions to those challenges. Springboard, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is testing the impacts of a universal basic income for affordable housing program recipients while encouraging residents to embrace their dreams as they confront their most pressing problems.
The Family Partnership (TFP) – TFP’s core purpose is to clear the path for family success, a daunting task in Minnesota where longstanding educational, economic and health disparities are increasing for African-American and American Indian families. TFP’s mission is to build strong families, vital communities and better futures for children. For over 139 years, The Family Partnership has been respected as an innovative nonprofit in the Twin Cities area that recognized the income inequities and insufficient social services that fall disproportionately on minorities, young and old. Over one million people have benefited from TFP’s specialized counseling, education and advocacy services which now include addressing prenatal and early childhood issues. With the support of Family Prosperity, TFP seeks to develop a parent leadership group that will provide input to TFP’s work-family support recommendations.
United Way of Greater Cincinnati – United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in their community. United Way creates new solutions to old problems, mobilizes the best resources to fight poverty, and forges diverse partnerships with the likes of the American Red Cross, the Child Poverty Collaborative, the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and Funders Response to the Heroin Epidemic, among other honorable groups. United Way of Greater Cincinnati leads nearly 100 agency partners in building a network of human services to help 10,000 families move out of poverty and supports an Employer Round Table to eliminate the barriers that prevent families from earning self-sustaining wages.
United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) – The mission of UTEC is to ignite and nurture the ambition of Lowell, Massachusetts’ youth to replace violence and poverty with social and economic success. UTEC walks alongside families as they break cycles of poverty and violence. The organization works through policy initiatives based on its two-generational programming for young parents in the community who have had negative contact with criminal justice systems. UTEC will leverage the network and its partners to improve policies and forge stronger alliances to expand opportunities, with a focus on young fathers. Joining Family Prosperity will allow UTEC to share its experience and results with highly-regarded two-generation practitioners across the country to help build a pathway to a bright, stable future for children and their families.
Washington State Budget & Policy Center (B&PC) – Parents know that education may catapult their children out of an environment that lack of money engenders. When parents reach their educational goals, they can set an example and break through intergenerational poverty to offer their kids a brighter future. Through the Parents Lead the Way policy innovation project, the Washington Budget & Policy Center in Seattle will develop policy solutions to dismantle barriers to opportunities available to parents participating in WorkFirst, Washington State’s version of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. B&PC keeps equity front and center, recognizing that racial injustices in the nation are deep and pervasive. B&PC strives to advance policies to eliminate inequity. The Washington Budget & Policy Center is dedicated to help parents and their children open the doors that lead to multi-generational stability and prosperity.
West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT) – Located in Grand Rapids, WMCAT provides a culture of opportunity by offering adults access to career training, teens access to arts and technology and two social enterprises. WMCAT’s flexible program, My Opportunity By Design: Curating Choice in Workforce Development, provides small class sizes, experienced and empathetic faculty and an unrelenting commitment to equity. WMCAT leverages social capital, personal leadership, choice and extensive support to move individuals and families toward income security through partnerships with employers.