Social Capital Leads to Postsecondary Innovation


A “Basic Principles of Business Administration” textbook open on the table, a curious toddler – with a newfound interest in insects – in her lap, and a community of Parent Advisors supporting her education goals. This was the pathway to postsecondary inclusion and success envisioned by Ascend with the launch of the Aspen Postsecondary Success for Parents (PSP) Initiative on November 1, 2018: students who are parents supported…

The Power of Families to Dismantle Poverty


My big idea for children and families in this 2Gen space is to not diminish, not to minimize, not to reduce, not to disrupt poverty, but to dismantle it. If you think about a drug organization, if the police simply come and disrupt them, they just reassemble someplace else. So we want to dismantle that…

The Power of Health in Communities: Collaboration Across Communities, Across Sectors, and With Lived Experience


I am not applying a term from physics to the human spirit, nor am I applying that to our communities. When we talk about resilience and the Building Community Resilience Collaborative (BCR), we are talking about providing communities the buffers and supports to not only bounce back from adversity but to also bounce forward. So…

Transforming Communities Through Enterprise


[Through the Black Star Fund], we are looking to fund – on the for-profit technology investment side – diverse founders of color. My journey into this started when I was at Stanford, but in the immediate history, believe it or not, working with the rock star Prince. Around 2013, I had an opportunity to work…

Can a Guaranteed Income Pilot Advance a Method of Policymaking That Affirms Human Dignity?


Springboard [to Opportunities] works directly with families who live in federally subsidized affordable housing. Our goal is to help these families reach their dreams in life, school, and work. As an organization, we pride ourselves on the fact that we are radically resident driven. What that means is that we work alongside our families, trusting…

Meeting Parents Where They Dream: Critical Voices and Lived Experiences


At the second Aspen Forum on Children and Families last month we brought together national leaders – policymakers, practitioners, researchers, philanthropists and parents – to surface big ideas for investing in the full potential of children and families, two generations at a time. Centering parents’ and caregivers’ perspectives is vital to Ascend and our work with…