The Aspen Family Prosperity Initiative is a partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop breakthrough innovations and partnerships that strengthen parents’ and families’ access to employment opportunities, economic prosperity, and health and well-being.

The initiative is guided by Ascend’s comprehensive 2Gen approach that supports children and their parents simultaneously to move the whole family toward well-being and economic security. This initiative and its progress is driven by a cohort of 20 Innovation Community members and 14 Advisors.

Advisors and Partners

Innovation Community Partners

Our multilayered Innovation Community brings together cross-sector leaders and employers in the public and private sectors who recognize a shared responsibility for families in their community and the country. Partners share insights and work collectively to develop solutions for families.

This group includes local and regional organizations that have significant track records for possessing the research, practice, and policy expertise to create high-impact solutions and the most visionary and results-driven national policy organizations advancing family prosperity.

Family Prosperity Advisors

The 14 Family Prosperity Advisors are distinguished experts and thought leaders from the business, government, academic, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors who build stronger, more equitable pathways for families to improve their well-being. They provide the Innovation Community Partners with additional perspective, content expertise and partnership.

Our Work

Ascend and the Family Prosperity Innovation Community and its Advisors hold a shared mission and vision for this collabortation:

  • Build, disseminate, and implement a portfolio of actionable approaches and strategies that put child and family outcomes at the center, including innovations in paid leave and child care; equitable support for families’ health, mental health, and well-being; employment partnerships; and public benefits programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
  • Identify a set of practices and policies that can shift the narrative around families with low incomes and transform policymaker, practitioner, and public mindsets; and
  • Create and refine bold policies that can influence the private sector and the way workers, particularly those with low wages, are supported, employed, and trained.


Ascend at the Aspen Institute created the Family Prosperity initiative in 2017, and in early 2018 it launched the inaugural Family Prosperity Innovation Community to bring together some of the brightest minds and dynamic leaders across multiple sectors to identify new and different ways to ensure families in America find opportunity and thrive. In that first cohort, we saw partners leading the field with guaranteed basic income, community-based mental health and job-skill supports, higher education built around parents’ lives, and many more innovations. 

The second phase of the Innovation Community, announced in February 2020 and launched in July 2020, brings an accelerated focus to engaging the business community and the role of employers in advancing employment, educational opportunities, and the health and well-being of families.

We prioritize anti-racism and reimagining systems and structures to achieve family prosperity, and we recognize that no policy for families of color can achieve meaningful outcomes without the experiences, voices, expertise, and decision-making of those families. Business, government, and the communities and families that employers support and serve must also inform those policies.