Ascend’s COVID-19 Response

Lori Severens | April 9, 2020 |

Ascend staff at our headquarters in Washington, DC are teleworking, according to Aspen Institute guidance. Ascend’s convenings have been moved to a virtual platform, postponed, or cancelled through April, and we will continue to communicate changes and updates to convening participants. We are online and checking emails, so please continue to contact us for any questions and concerns.

In the last few weeks, our communities have been dealing with rapidly changing circumstances as we together face the coronavirus pandemic. While the days and months ahead may feel uncertain, we have been inspired and heartened by the efforts of our Ascend Fellows and the Ascend Network: leaders and organizations supporting those that are impacted most by the economic and health effects of the pandemic. See the leadership letter we published here.

We invite Fellows, Network Partners, and other leaders and front-line staff in the 2Gen field to please let us know how we can support you in your efforts. We are open to providing technical assistance, office hours, and connections to other partners or organizations with whom you are looking for support and guidance. Please let us know by reaching out to Sariah Toze, Program Coordinator, at

Please find a list of resources below from various organizations and Network Partners, including webinars; actions taken by state and federal agencies to support families; legislative action; and other ways Network Partners have responded. We thank you for all your work in supporting children and families: the foundation of our communities.

Please join us for a new webinar series on how to better support children and families during the pandemic – and beyond. We plan to host eight webinars between April 28 and May 28, 2020. Find more details and register here.

This feeling of anxiety that many Americans feel now is the status quo in the daily life of families with low incomes. Uncertainty is the damaging byproduct of poverty. What we are feeling now as coronavirus moves through our nation is something we never want to feel again. Let’s make it so no one ever has to.” – Anne Mosle, Executive Director of Ascend and Vice President at the Aspen Institute, in an op-ed in The Hill: Uncertainty is the Enemy of Prosperity.

Network Partner Spotlights and Actions


Policy and Legislation

Agency Updates and Resources

Resources for Community Organizations and Non-Profits, including Early Child Care (ECC) Providers

Resources for Parents and Families for Self-Care, Financial Stress, and Homeschooling Financial Support Resources:

Emergency Grants:

  • ONE FAIR WAGE Emergency Fund for Tipped and Service Workers – ONE FAIR WAGE is raising money to support tipped and service workers whose wages have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. If you are one of these workers, fill out the application below to be contacted by one of their organizers (form available in Spanish).
  • Scholly’s COVID-19 Student Relief Fund – Scholly is an platform created to support college students in every stage of their educational journey. During the COVID-19 crisis they are offering $200 in cash assistance to students, parents of students, or graduates who need additional financial support. 

Other Necessities:

Mental Health:

Specific for Undocumented Individuals:
Undocumented people do not qualify for most of the resources shared above so we are including resources here that are specific for this community.

  • United We Dream Healthcare Access for Undocumented Folks in the Time of COVID-19 – This resource offers a list of community health care centers and clinics by state that will provide free or low-cost healthcare to the undocumented community. This list is not all-encompassing, so we encourage you to look for more health care centers in your state if the ones listed here are not in a location convenient for you and your family.
  • Betancourt Macias Family Scholarship Foundation Emergency Funds Program — The Betancourt Macias Family Scholarship Foundation is providing emergency funds to undocumented families and individuals affected by this crisis. They amount of money they are able to provide is dependent on what they raise through their GoFundMe campaign.
  • Undocuscholars COVID-19 Resources for Undocumented Communities – This spreadsheet was created by Undocuscholars, a network of undocumented youth in postsecondary institutions, to provide a place where members of the undocumented community can find information to help them deal with this pandemic. It includes financial, legal, medical, and food resources and it lists national resources first and then resources by state. We recommend that you refresh the page every time you go back to it as it is constantly updated with new information.

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