Two-Generation Partnership in Support of Families’ Desires to Achieve Intergenerational Opportunity


Committed to helping families create an intergenerational cycle of opportunity, LIFT, a national nonprofit that connects parents with trained coaches who help them achieve career and financial goals, implements a two-generation (2Gen) strategy. Their partnership with AppleTree, a recognized leader in evidence-based early childhood education, demonstrates LIFT’s commitment to staying laser-focused on the needs of its members – the parents – while recognizing that the educational and financial well-being of parents affects their kids. Initial data from this strategic partnership – as summarized in this brief – has yielded promising results.

Two-generation approaches are based, in part, on research that establishes that when parents do better, so do their children. Likewise, when children do well, their parents are inspired to do better. Specifically, when parents are thriving financially and emotionally, they can better create stable home environments and serve as positive role models for their children. And when children’s needs are being met, parents strive to do better in all aspects of their lives. Such is the concept of mutual motivation, as coined by Ascend Fellow Dr. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale. Each is motivated by the other, in a continuously reaffirming, upward-moving cycle, taking the whole family to heights beyond what might be achieved when focusing solely on either the parent or the child.

Taking a 2Gen approach to its work, LIFT focuses on the parents while partnering with a dozen early childhood education providers, like AppleTree, who serve their children. AppleTree, a network of charter preschools, aims to close the achievement gap by helping young children develop the social, emotional, and academic skills they need to thrive before entering kindergarten. Likewise, AppleTree is also committed to taking a 2Gen approach to its work. It was out of a shared commitment to 2Gen approaches that this 2Gen pilot project emerged.

Data from this initial pilot project demonstrate an effective 2Gen strategy that yields strong outcomes for parents and their children and positive impact on whole families. Partnerships that are intentional in their purpose and complementary in their approach, tracking outcomes for both parents and children, can support families’ desires to achieve intergenerational opportunity.

Kimberly Miyazawa Frank is the Morgridge Family Economic Security Innovator in Residence at Ascend.