By Sarah Haight
“The further away one goes from the front lines the harder it is to stay rooted in the reality of what children and families in poverty face on a day-to-day basis. Engaging in a field look and understanding the gains made and the gaps that remain is crucial, and the Ascend Fellowship can help facilitate that.” — Dr. Meera Mani
As director of the Children, Families, and Communities Program at the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Ascend Fellow Dr. Meera Mani oversees the foundation’s strategic giving for children and families, advising on research, evaluation, operations, and communications. As a leader, Dr. Mani brings her perspective – as an early childhood expert, a director at a national foundation, and a proponent of integrating policy and communications for social change – to the Ascend Fellowship. The Fellowship recognizes innovative public, private, and nonprofit sector leaders taking action to move parents and children beyond poverty together. At the heart of the Ascend Fellowship, which launched in 2012 with an inaugural class of 20 pioneers, is a commitment to accelerating the creation and expansion of proven and promising two-generation approaches.
Two-generation approaches provide opportunities for and meet the needs of vulnerable parents and their children together, and Dr. Mani is at the forefront of a growing national network of two-generation leaders. As part of her Fellowship action plan, Dr. Mani is partnering with Ascend to develop a two-generation policy agenda, examining and elevating opportunities at the local, state, and federal levels to improve educational success and economic security for parents and their children together. Her leadership on this work reflects Ascend’s philosophy that the Fellowship should be a space for innovation and collaboration, increasing the impact of Fellows’ work and strengthening their capacity.
Learn more about Ascend and the two-generation approach here: http://ascend.aspeninstitute.org/.