Visionary Leaders Fuel Advances in Opportunity for Colorado Children and Families

May 16, 2017 | Ascend Fellowship, Press Releases

For Immediate Release

Contact: Lori Severens

Ascend at the Aspen Institute

Tel: 202.736.2920

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Visionary Leaders Fuel Advances in

Opportunity for Colorado Children and Families

Aspen Institute names Inaugural Colorado Children and Families Fellows

Washington, DC, May 16, 2017 – The Aspen Institute announced the inaugural class of its Colorado Children and Families Health and Human Services Fellowship. The Fellowship invests in visionary leaders committed to making Colorado the best place to have a child and sustain a healthy, thriving family.

“All children deserve a healthy, happy start in life,” said Lucy Ana Walton, co-founder of the Ben and Lucy Ana Walton Fund at the Walton Family Foundation and the recently launched Zoma Foundation. “This Fellowship is part of our investment in Colorado’s children to help them and their families build strong futures, free from neglect and with the awareness and ease of access to supports and services they need to succeed in life.”

“This investment in leaders in rural and urban counties across the state is a smart way to strengthen the systems that serve our communities,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “We look forward to seeing the impact this inaugural class will have on Colorado children and families.”

For bios and photos of all 20 outstanding leaders, visit https://ascend.aspeninstitute.org

These leaders are on the front lines of new solutions to transform the culture and systems that serve children and families in Colorado. Among their strategies:

  • Ensuring high quality early learning and health opportunities;
  • Reimagining the child welfare system;
  • Addressing the root causes of health disparities to improve outcomes for young children and families;
  • Developing a comprehensive approach to helping families reach their goals, including strong education and workforce systems;
  • Transforming trauma assessment and care to support family healing and the prevention of future maltreatment;
  • Building a new culture within human services focused on serving families coupled with smarter service delivery across systems to improve lives.

The Fellows reflect the diversity and talent of Colorado and significant opportunities to invest in children and families:

  • Lead health and human services systems in 4 rural and urban counties, serving 1.4 million Coloradans
  • Steward more than $1.2 billion in public resources
  • Direct the state’s programs in Medicaid, early childhood, and public health
  • Head policy, research, and early childhood organizations
  • 35% people of color
  • 12 women, 8 men

“It is a privilege to bring the Aspen Institute’s values-based leadership approach back to its roots in Colorado, where it all started,” said Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson. “More importantly, this Fellowship is a critical investment in advancing opportunity and equality in America for the children and families who need it the most.”

“The Colorado Children and Families Fellows are diverse, entrepreneurial leaders implementing bold ideas to change the lives of young children and their families throughout Colorado,” said Anne Mosle, vice president, the Aspen Institute, and executive director, Ascend at the Aspen Institute. “Too many families are struggling; the Aspen Institute is committed to ensuring that all children have the chance to reach their full potential.”

The Colorado Children and Families Fellowship builds on the best of the Aspen Institute leadership tradition. Fellows work with inspirational leaders; participate in signature Institute convenings and platforms; tap powerful networks of social justice; and carry out action plans that advance their work on behalf of children and families. The Fellowship is made possible through the generous support of the Ben and Lucy Ana Fund of the Walton Family Foundation.

2017 Aspen Institute Children and Families Fellows:

Phyllis Albritton, Director, Office of Economic Security, Colorado Department of Human Services

Erin Brown, Executive Director, Office of Children’s Affairs, City and County of Denver

Matthew Dodson, Director, Archuleta County Department of Human Services

Verónica Figoli, President and CEO, Denver Public Schools Foundation

Tony Gherardini, Deputy Executive Director of Operations, Colorado Department of Human Services

Tista Ghosh, Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Director, Public Health Programs, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Gretchen Hammer, Medicaid Director, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing

Nikki Hatch, Regional Administrator, Region 8, Administration of Children and Families

Bill Jaeger, Vice President, Early Childhood Initiatives, Colorado Children’s Campaign

Deidre Johnson, CEO and Executive Director, The Center for African-American Health

Liane Jollon, Executive Director, San Juan Basin Public Health

Mark Kling, Executive Director, Family Resource Center Association

Jeff Kuhr, Executive Director, Mesa County Health Department

Don Mares, Executive Director, Denver Department of Human Services

Michael Niyompong, Chief Operating Officer, Clayton Early Learning

Stephanie Seng, Director, Center for Marriage and Family Therapy and Child Trauma and Resilience Assessment Center, Colorado State University

Mary Anne Snyder, Director, Office of Early Childhood, Colorado Department of Human Services

Cheryl Ternes, Director, Arapahoe County Department of Human Services

Stephanie Villafuerte, Child Protection Ombudsman of Colorado

Scott Wasserman, President, The Bell Policy Center

Ascend at the Aspen Institute is the national hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move children and their parents toward educational success, economic security, and health and well-being. We embrace a commitment to racial equity and a gender lens. For more information, visit https://ascend.aspeninstitute.org

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org

###

Related Posts

Today, Ascend at the Aspen Institute announced that eight Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) have joined its Black and Native Family Futures Fund.
Press ReleasesDecember 13, 2022
Today, Ascend at the Aspen Institute (Ascend) released the second season of “1 in 5,” its highly rated podcast that explores the multifaceted lives of the one in five college students raising children.
Press ReleasesDecember 1, 2022
Today, Ascend at the Aspen Institute (Ascend) announced that 11 new Parent Advisors have joined its Postsecondary Success for Parents initiative (PSP) to help shape Ascend’s expanded agenda to improve higher education policy and practice for student parents.
Press ReleasesSeptember 29, 2022
Over the last 10 years, the Institute’s Ascend Fellowship has seen 120 leaders from across the United States join together to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
Ascend FellowshipAugust 22, 2022
In a recent article on EdSurge.com, Ascend executive director and founder Anne Mosle discusses the tighter focus of the 2022 Ascend Fellowship class.
Media MentionsAugust 17, 2022
Today, the Aspen Institute announced its 2022 Aspen Institute Ascend Fellows, 22 leaders from across the United States who are primed to transform systems so that our youngest children and families can thrive.
Ascend FellowshipAugust 8, 2022
In an op-ed for amNY.com, Félix V. Matos Rodríguez shares insights and reflections on how higher ed can make a difference for families by supporting student parents.
Media MentionsJuly 29, 2022
In an article in Early Learning Nation, the Ascend Fellowship and two Ascend Fellows - Joe Waters and Atiya Weiss - are highlighted for their leadership to combat the climate crisis and mobilize thinking and action for the next century and beyond.
Media MentionsJuly 26, 2022
RFP for HBCUs and TCUs to apply for funding and technical assistance to support student parent success on their campuses One in five college students – close to 4 million – is pursuing higher education while parenting. More than half are students of color, with Black and Native students more likely to be balancing school …

Ascend’s New Family Futures Fund Focuses on Black and Native Student Parent Success Read More »

Aspen Postsecondary Success for ParentsJuly 20, 2022
In an op-ed for Chronicle of Philanthropy, Joe Waters highlights the Ascend Fellowship as an “example of an effective approach” to developing a new generation of global leaders in the climate and early-childhood movements.
Media MentionsJuly 19, 2022
Dr. Aisha Nyandoro, an Ascend Fellow, is one of three winners of the 2022 John P. McNulty Prize.
Media MentionsJuly 18, 2022
I started off the 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival at Aspen Words Book Ball, a passion project of Isa Catto and Daniel Shaw.
Ascend FellowshipJune 25, 2022
This year, the Aspen Idea Festival returns to in-person programming at our campus in the Rocky Mountains June 25 - July 1, 2022.
Ascend FellowshipJune 15, 2022
We have an abundance of talent that is ready to reimagine early childhood and well-being in America for our youngest children and families, but we do not have an abundance of leadership experiences that nurture, propel, and position them as the dynamic leaders our country urgently needs. Leadership that reflects the full diversity and genius …

Charting a New Future for Early Childhood Leadership in America Read More »

Ascend FellowshipMay 24, 2022
Joe Waters is the co-founder and CEO of Capita and a 2021 Ascend Fellow. In this Q&A, he answers questions from the Ascend team about why climate change is an important children’s issue and how we can help them navigate the crisis.
Ascend FellowshipApril 19, 2022