the Ascend Network’s goals & activities

The goal of the Ascend Network is to mobilize and activate leading organizations to increase the economic mobility, educational success, social capital, and health and well-being of families. To do so, the Ascend Network brings together practitioners, local and state systems leaders, philanthropic leaders, and researchers who are advancing 2Gen approaches to improve whole family outcomes. These leaders across multiple sectors live and work in their communities and understand the strengths  of the 15 million families within the Network’s reach.

All Ascend Network Partners are invited to connect with us and each other in our Action + Impact webinar series and receive recurring communications to advance their work. A select number of Partners engage with Ascend more deeply in several ways:

2Gen Accelerator Community

Ascend is partnering with 15 local and national nonprofit organizations that hold best practices for 2Gen approaches. Together, this Community will codify, accelerate, and scale their learnings and successes to influence systems change and transform outcomes for families with low incomes.

Place-Based Partnerships

Since Ascend’s launch in 2011, Ascend has taken a place-based approach to advance 2Gen innovations with communities, counties, and states.

Learning & Action Communities

Ascend gathers Partners with a shared North Star to collaborate on field-level practice and policy recommendations that are focused on key topic areas such as fatherhood, reimagining the child welfare system for families with children from prenatal to three, and 2Gen learning and evaluation.

Strategic Convenings

Ascend convenes leaders at ThinkXChange, VisionXChange, and the Aspen Forum on Children and Families to explore opportunities and challenges to advancing solutions and capturing impact for families. We also host roundtables, strategic conversations, and offer Network Partners an exclusive Action + Impact webinar series on a range of issues areas to shift mindsets, build relationships, and design new approaches to advancing economic mobility.

Meet Ascend Network Partners

Ascend Network Partners are leaders passionate about improving policies, systems, and programs by removing obstacles and creating opportunities that spur families forward on their path toward economic mobility.  Hear from some of our Network Partners on how they apply 2Gen approaches in their communities.

During our 2023 Aspen Forum on Children and Families, 17 Network Partners shared their “Innovations & Impact” about how 2Gen approaches guide their work and vision for the future.
For our 2021 Aspen Forum on Children and Families, Network Partners contributed to this “Voices from the Field” video to compile some of their insights and ideas about the 2Gen approach.
In 2015, some of our inaugural Network Partners shared how they were “Pioneering Two-Generation Change” so that children and the adults in their lives can thrive.

Want to Join the NetworK?

Becoming an Ascend Network Partner provides a special opportunity to learn from and collaborate with others who are committed to 2Gen approaches. To enable peer learning and scale solutions, Ascend provides the below opportunities. There are no fees associated with the Ascend Network. We request that Partners share with Ascend the resources, templates, and results developed as part of their 2Gen work to the 2Gen field.


Through Action + Impact series, the online directory, and convenings, the Network convenes diverse leaders in various stages of professional development so they can build connections  with and gather insights from other organizations and platforms.


We provide intellectual, financial, and social capital to Partners. We also offer direct and priority access to new Ascend publications, 1 on 1 technical assistance, and learning communities that advance innovation and the co-creation of solutions.


We provide Partners with tools, guidance, and a national audience to disseminate their insights and impact. We also provide a forum for communities to be heard and contribute to conversations affecting their neighbors and peers.

If you are interested in becoming a Network Partner, please submit this 2Gen survey. There are no fees associated with participating in the Network. You can also reference these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more information.

The impact of Ascend Network partners

The Ascend Network launched in 2014 with 58 inaugural Partners. Today the growing Ascend Network boasts more than 500 partners from across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, as well as abroad in Guatemala, Ireland, and Rwanda. This 2Gen movement is advancing 2Gen approaches in policy and practice to build family well-being.

In collaboration with Ascend Network Partners, we have developed more than 300 resources, including toolkits, action plan templates, outcomes frameworks, briefs, and case studies to operationalize and improve 2Gen approaches implemented by nonprofit organizations, county and state agencies, and philanthropy. 

Contact the Ascend team

If you would like to learn more about the Ascend Network, please contact our Senior Program Manager, Stephanie Brueck-Cassoli (, or our Program Associate, Jordan Colvin (

Stories from the Ascend Network