Aspen ThinkXChange 2019: Advancing Family Prosperity

With family voices at the center, Ascend will bring together leaders from across key issues and sectors at the Aspen ThinkXChange 2019: Advancing Family Prosperity on October 15-18 in Aspen, Colorado, to share bold ideas, generate new strategies, and identify critical partnerships to move families toward opportunity in the decade ahead.

The convening will highlight inherent strengths of families with low incomes while bringing new and established leaders to conversations they might not otherwise have an opportunity to join, such as the barriers facing students who are parents and low-wage workers. This ThinkXChange will feature a focus on the learnings of the Aspen Family Prosperity Innovation Community, a partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to identify new and different ways to ensure families in America find opportunity and thrive. We will be releasing the Family Prosperity Innovation Community Index at ThinkXChange – stay tuned!

Through plenary sessions, deep-dive interactive opportunities, networking, and listening sessions, participants will advance strategies to move children and families toward opportunity across sectors and systems; understand barriers in the field; and identify potential new allies.

Registration is now closed for this convening. Follow us at @AspenAscend leading up to and during ThinkXChange, and join the conversation with #FamiliesAscend #FamilyProsperity and #2Gen.


We will be livestreaming both of the morning plenaries on Family Prosperity at this link. Check out more details on the plenary times, descriptions, and speakers below:

Wednesday, October 16 at 8:30 – 9:00 am MDT
Reimagining Family Prosperity: Putting Family Voice and Equity Front and Center  
Ascend launched in 2011, and since then 2Gen approaches have gained significant momentum across the country, advanced by a national network and a group of Fellows, funders, and policymakers with a shared vision for an intergenerational cycle of opportunity. Where are the opportunities for continuing this momentum, and how do we ensure family voices and an equity lens remain at the center? Leadership remarks will be shared by Anne Mosle, Vice President, the Aspen Institute and Executive Director, Ascend at the Aspen Institute.

9:00 – 10:30 am MDT: The Prosperity Landscape: Equity, Demographics, and Families 

The racial wealth gap is one of the most significant barriers to equity and opportunity for families in the United States. Understanding how race and other factors (e.g., gender and geography) impact asset-building and economic mobility – and the ways in which communities, systems, and families are confronting these gaps – will be vital to keeping pace with shifting demographics and advancing family prosperity. Hear from some of the country’s leading researchers and thinkers on fresh data and bold ideas to create a 21st century economy that works for all families. 

Presenters and speakers: 

  • Kilolo Kijakazi, Institute Fellow, Urban Institute 
  • Jennifer Richeson, Philip R. Allen Professor of Psychology, Yale University 
  • Lola Adedokun, Program Director for Child Well-Being and Director for the African Health Initiative, Doris Duke Foundation 
  • Moderator: Anne Mosle, Vice President & Executive Director, Ascend at the Aspen Institute 

Thursday, October 17 at 8:30 – 9:45 am MDT
Advancing Family Prosperity: Innovations Ready to Spread 
In 2017, Ascend launched the Aspen Family Prosperity Innovation Community, a learning and action initiative that developed bold strategies that strengthen parents’ and families’ employment, economic security, and health and well-being. Six leading, bipartisan organizations anchored this innovation community. This morning, you will hear from them on how paid leave, employer feedback loops, healthcare policy, and much more are being shaped by family voice and political leadership – and what’s to come in 2020. 

Presenters and speakers:  

  • How do employers listen to and respond to families? 
    • Stephanie Summers, Chief Executive Officer, Center for Public Justice 
    • Mary Bogle, Principal Research Associate, Urban Institute 
  • What’s next for paid leave? 
    • Vicki Shabo, Senior Fellow of Paid Leave Policy and Strategy, New America 
    • Pronita Gupta, Director Job Quality, Center for Law and Social Policy 
  • How do we advance family-informed policies in a divisive political climate? 
    • Sharon Terman, Director of the Work and Family Program, Legal Aid at Work 
    • Erika Moritsugu, Vice President, National Partnership for Women and Families 
    • Moderator: Marjorie Sims, Managing Director, Ascend at the Aspen Institute 

This is Ascend’s fourth signature ThinkXChange, with previous convenings held in 2012, 2014, and 2015. Please contact Lindsay Broyhill, Communications Strategist and Manager, at with any questions or ideas.