Ascend at the Aspen Institute Launches the 2Gen Accelerator Community to Strengthen Outcomes for Children and Families
Contact: Brendan Creamer
Ascend at the Aspen Institute
Washington, DC, December 6, 2023 – Ascend at the Aspen Institute is proud to launch the 2Gen Accelerator Community, a new effort bringing together 15 local and national organizations with best practices for two-generation (2Gen) or whole-family approaches. 2Gen approaches build family well-being by intentionally and simultaneously focusing on children and the adults in their lives together.
Each of these leading organizations will receive a one-year Accelerator grant to codify their learnings and document their successes to advance systems change so more families with low incomes can move toward educational success, economic security, and health and well-being.
“There is no more important indicator of the success of our communities and our country than the well-being of our children and families,” says Anne Mosle, Vice President of the Aspen Institute and Founder & Executive Director of Ascend. “Now is the time to scale high-potential solutions, pull policy levers that will unlock pragmatic pathways and opportunity for families, and improve outcomes for our nation. Ascend is investing in these 15 partner organizations that hold some of the strongest, front-edge solutions to dismantling inequities and forging new pathways to prosperity across diverse communities. These solutions build upon ten years of the Ascend Network’s innovations — together, we’re shaping the future of the 2Gen movement.”
The 2Gen Accelerator Community represents diverse communities across 12 states, and each partner brings rich expertise with best practices ranging from community health career pathways for parents; partnerships to embed 2Gen in early childhood and postsecondary systems; opportunities to reduce involvement in the criminal legal system for young parents; among others. All share the same North Star of moving more families toward intergenerational prosperity and well-being.
Each partner is using funds to codify their best practices and generate long-term results by contributing to a national portfolio of solutions that demonstrate the efficacy of 2Gen approaches.
- Briya Public Charter School (Washington, DC) – With unprecedented expansion of 2Gen education in the DC region, the Briya team will accelerate strategic systems change to integrate education systems in the District of Columbia and Maryland, and they will document the legislative process and their program learnings so other schools and universities can help families meet their educational goals.
- Child Care Aware of Kansas (Salina, KS) – This state child care resource agency, which connects Kansans to child care and early childhood policy issues, will develop policy change efforts and a communications campaign to scale their child care subsidy model.
- Climb Wyoming (Cheyenne, WY) – This best-practice organization, which combines employment training with mental health services to break the generational cycle of poverty, will create a high-value digital resource that utilizes brain science and economic data for other organizations to scale their workforce training outcomes.
- FamilyAid (Boston, MA) – To evolve the nation’s adult-focused approach to family homelessness into a whole-family approach, FamilyAid and its collaborators will fully implement its Child Homelessness Intercept Mapping and Engagement (CHIME) model to improve 2Gen outcomes and share its work with other communities.
- Garrett County Community Action Committee (Oakland, MD) – GCCAC will expand its capacity for sustainable change in Garrett County through a custom-designed family intake process and centralized database to track comprehensive outcomes for children and the adults in their lives, and extend its influence to federal, state, and local policies.
- Jeremiah Program (Minneapolis, MN) – Jeremiah Program will develop an interactive learning platform for single mothers to be empowered renters and homeowners, and they will develop a public-private housing partnership framework to increase housing stability and long-term economic mobility for single parent families across the country.
- LIFT (Washington, DC) – LIFT will document the lessons they have learned from providing technical assistance partnerships with large-scale, social service providers on inclusive culture change that embeds equity into organizations serving whole families.
- Martha O’Bryan Center (Nashville, TN) – To address the benefits cliff and its threat to the long-term growth and health of families and communities nationwide, Martha O’Bryan Center will document the results of their groundbreaking pilot effort, capture stories of families with lived expertise, and share insights for best practices in family coaching from the larger field to influence systems change.
- MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (Washington, DC) – Led by 2018 Ascend Fellow, Dr. Matt Biel, the Early Childhood Innovation Network (ECIN) will extend the evaluation efforts and policy agenda around its vanguard mental health workforce training program that equips community members to enter the mental health workforce and early childhood as family community mental health workers.
- Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Columbus, OH) – The country’s second largest pediatric hospital improves their neighbors’ financial well-being by providing free tax preparation and a match savings partnership via their Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families initiative, and they will codify their learnings and its impact on diminishing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and improving families’ capital.
- New Moms (Chicago, IL) – Leveraging their strengths-based, equity-driven coaching practices, New Moms will further codify its model and best practices to train peer family-serving organizations and scale a coaching approach that improves economic and overall well-being outcomes for families.
- Springboard To Opportunities (Jackson, MS) – Led by 2015 Ascend Fellow, Dr. Aisha Nyandoro, Springboard will evaluate and provide additional reporting on their Magnolia Mother’s Trust – the nation’s longest-running guaranteed income program – so they can surface best practice strategies for developing a family-defined, 2Gen cash assistance program.
- United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County (San Antonio, TX) – Dedicated to family-centered coaching and elevating parent involvement and leadership, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County will develop a framework and professional development training to enable other frontline staff to improve whole family outcomes.
- UTEC, Inc (Lowell, MA) – Drawing upon lessons learned from their 2Gen Childcare and Parenting Center, UTEC will advance policy and systems change identified by young parent leaders who are involved with the criminal justice systems.
- Valley Settlement (Glenwood Springs, CO) – Led by 2023 Ascend Fellow, Maria Tarajano Rodman, Valley Settlement will develop an immersive technical assistance model and provide implementation guides and reports on their collaborative process of co-designing 2Gen programs with Latina families.
“By tapping the talents of families in their respective communities and activating key systems and policy levers, these 15 organizations are creating new possibilities for children and families across the country,” says Dan Porterfield, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “It’s an honor for the Aspen Institute to support their phenomenal work as a part of our mission to pursue a more free, just, and equitable society.”
Throughout 2024, the 2Gen Accelerator Community will work beside families to amplify strategies and solutions that pave pathways to prosperity for families who are most likely to face economic injustices. Together the 2Gen Accelerator Community will receive a complement of technical assistance from Ascend and its partners, participate in peer learning and strategic conversations, and will engage state and federal leaders. Partners’ work will culminate in Aspen, Colorado during ThinkXChange, the national forum on 2Gen solutions, in October 2024.
Ascend at the Aspen Institute is a catalyst and convener for diverse leaders working across systems and sectors to build intergenerational family prosperity and well-being by intentionally focusing on children and the adults in their lives together. We believe in the power of co-creation. We are a community of leaders — well-connected, well-prepared, and well-positioned — building the political will that transforms hearts, minds, policies, and practices. For more information, visit ascend.aspeninstitute.org.
The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization whose purpose is to ignite human potential to build understanding and create new possibilities for a better world. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve society’s greatest challenges. It is headquartered in Washington, DC and has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, as well as an international network of partners. For more information, visit aspeninstitute.org.