Building Evidence Together for a Better Tomorrow

Marjorie Sims | May 29, 2024 | Ascend Network, Press Releases, Publication

Aspen Institute Releases A New Shared Research Agenda Focused on Family Well-being with and for the Two-Generation (2Gen) Field

Washington, DC 

Ascend at the Aspen Institute released the landmark Building Evidence Together For A Better Tomorrow report today as researchers, state and local administrators, practitioners, and federal officials and policymakers gather for the 22nd Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS) at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC.

The well-being of children is inextricably linked to the well-being of the adults who care for them and the environments in which they live. Two-generation (2Gen) approaches build family well-being by intentionally and simultaneously working with children and the parent/adult caregiver(s) in their lives together, with the goal of creating a legacy of educational success, economic prosperity, and health and well-being that passes from one generation to the next.

“The 2Gen field is currently at an inflection point. We see 2Gen approaches proliferating across all 50 states as well as in Puerto Rico and here in the nation’s capital. We need to understand what is being implemented, who is being served, if those efforts are effective, and how those efforts might be improved upon. This requires thoughtful learning, evaluation, and research.” says Marjorie Sims, Managing Director of Ascend.

Building Evidence Together For A Better Tomorrow delineates a comprehensive set of 2Gen Learning, Evaluation, and Research guiding principles, agenda, and recommendations resulting from a 16-month, national collaboration among 42 researchers, funders, practitioners, and, crucially, parents. With support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Ascend convened these leaders – collectively called the 2Gen Building Evidence Learning and Action Community – eight times over 2022-2023. 

Creating a space where parents’ voices were valued and heard just as much as PhD voices was essential. “As Ascend’s founder Anne Mosle always reminds us, change happens at the speed of relationships and trust. The work always starts with building close relationships,” Sims says. “Then having solid practices for engaging parents, providing fair compensation for their expertise, articulating the time and the goals, and creating spaces for them to connect with each other are important as well.”

For Mirah Marcus-Garcia, a Parent Advisor with Ascend’s 2Gen Building Evidence Learning and Action Community, the experience proved to be uplifting. “I enjoyed sharing space with the other parents involved because they put me in a greatness that I personally was struggling to see,” Marcus-Garcia says. “I also think and hope I helped change the negative stigmas surrounding Indigenous young parents.”

Building Evidence Together For A Better Tomorrow builds upon a dozen years of collaborations among Ascend and innovators across the 2Gen field:

The full report can be read in full here:


Ascend at the Aspen Institute is a catalyst and convener for diverse leaders working across systems and sectors to build intergenerational family prosperity and well-being by intentionally focusing on children and the adults in their lives together. We believe in the power of co-creation. We are a community of leaders — well-connected, well-prepared, and well-positioned — building political will that transforms hearts, minds, policies, and practices.

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization whose purpose is to ignite human potential to build understanding and create new possibilities for a better world. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve society’s greatest challenges. It is headquartered in Washington, DC and has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, as well as an international network of partners. For more information, visit


Brendan Creamer
Communications Officer
Ascend at the Aspen Institute

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