On September 14, 2017, Ascend joined The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, State of Minnesota, City of Saint Paul, the Saint Paul Foundation, and Future Services Institute at the Minnesota 2Gen Summit to Reduce Poverty.
The summit brought together 150 policymakers and philanthropic, state, and community leaders from across sectors to learn more about the 2Gen approach, build upon existing relationships, and increase coordinated, statewide engagement with 2Gen strategies. In Minnesota, 13 percent of children and 32 percent of single females with children live below poverty.
Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith shared opening remarks, emphasizing that “we need to think about children and parents together.” Ascend Executive Director Anne Mosle provided the keynote address. Ascend Network Partners Jeremiah Program and The Family Partnership were in attendance and were well-represented on the parent panel. Ascend led an introductory breakout session, guiding participants through discussions around challenges, opportunities, and identifying partners and resources when exploring and implementing 2Gen strategies. See this activity and others in our toolbox.
The convening provided an opportunity for Minnesota leaders to capitalize on the state’s role in the Parents and Children Thriving Together (PACTT): Two-Generation State Policy Network, a peer learning network to advance 2Gen strategies for systems change launched by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).
Minnesota has a solid foundation in 2Gen programming and policy, including a statewide network of Early Childhood Family Education programs through local school districts, support of local public health departments in developing the capacity to deliver three different evidence-based home visiting models, and support of Parenting Student Centers at nine post-secondary campuses around the state. Minnesota has a strong set of community partners with deep experience integrating services with culturally-informed practices at the local level, including the Northside Achievement Zone, Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood, White Earth Transformation Zone, and Itasca Transformation Zone (Invest Early Project) – each of which were represented at the summit.
Minnesota 2Gen leaders penned an op-ed: Poverty shouldn’t determine destiny, for the Pioneer Press following the summit. The piece, authored by MayKao Hang, president and CEO of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation; Chris Coleman, mayor of St. Paul; and Emily Piper, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, stresses: We must move to a two-generation mindset that focuses on children and adults at the same time, to reduce poverty and create a more virtuous cycle of productivity.
“There’s so much good work happening in Minnesota. The next step is connecting dots and aligning practice and policy, paired with family voice, to implement 2Gen approaches in every county in the state.” –Anne Mosle, Vice President at the Aspen Institute and Executive Director of Ascend at the Aspen Institute