UpTogether is an antiracist change organization that trusts and invests in low-income families, allowing them to move themselves out of poverty. Under Jesús’ leadership, UpTogether has quadrupled its revenue, doubled in staff, and expanded its work to all 50 states through the adoption of its strength-based approach and technology platform, UpTogether Community. Prior to joining UpTogether, Jesús worked for the Hyde Square Task Force, where he worked on the Youth First project that helped lay the groundwork for a proposed $250 million urban development project. The Schwab Foundation named Jesús as a 2020 Social Innovator of the Year for leading UpTogether’s work supporting tens of thousands of families across the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Jesús was included in Care 100’s most influential people in care. A native of Puerto Rico, Jesús is the youngest of three children born to parents who were just nineteen years old when they married. At the age of nine, Jesús moved with his mother and siblings to Amherst, Massachusetts. This community was full of resources, lifting up opportunities for Jesús’ family to achieve their goals. This life experience has shaped Jesús, fueling his desire to eliminate place, race, or economic position as the marker for individual and collective success.

My Truth

We do not need to help people more; we need to hinder them less. Poverty is not caused by personal failures. It’s rooted in system choices, nurtured by institutional racism, that disinvest and fragment communities. Our people and communities are the solution, let’s invest in them.

Stories featuring Jesús Gerena

Poverty is the result of poor policy choices. These choices reflect our national values and decide who deserves access to opportunity to achieve their dreams and who does not. This flawed mindset has led to persistent inequities and a hollowing of our shared humanity. Change is possible. The choice is ours.
Ascend FellowshipJanuary 21, 2022
In order for America to thrive, our families must thrive. This is the understanding of Ascend at the Aspen Institute, a program dedicated to mobilizing systems, policy, and social impact leaders who are working to create a world where every family passes a legacy of well-being from one generation to the next. This week, the Institute announced that 19 leaders were selected for the 2021 Ascend Fellowship, an 18-month-long program that brings together innovators from diverse backgrounds to build political will, change systems, and drive policy that benefits the well-being and prosperity of all children and families in the US.
Ascend FellowshipOctober 7, 2021
Ascend is honored that our Executive Director Anne Mosle has been named to the Holding Co.’s CARE 100 List, a first-of-its-kind list of the people doing the most to re-imagine and re-humanize our care system. We are even more overjoyed to see so many of our Ascend Fellows, Network partners, Parent Advisors, philanthropic partners, and …

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BlogOctober 23, 2020
Smiling Family With Parents Giving Children Piggyback Rides In Garden At Home
Contact: Lindsay Broyhill Ascend at the Aspen Institute lindsay.broyhill@aspeninstitute.org  Bold Leaders to Advance Innovative Strategies for Families’ Health and Economic Prosperity  Aspen Institute Launches New Partners and Advisors in Aspen Family Prosperity Innovation Community  Washington, DC – Ascend at the Aspen Institute is proud to announce the new partners and advisors the Aspen Family Prosperity Innovation Community, Ascend’s initiative for breakthrough innovations and collaborations that position families to reach educational …

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BlogJuly 22, 2020