Ascend at the Aspen Institute Launches National Network to Disrupt Poverty for Children and Parents

April 29, 2014

Contact: Sarah Haight
Ascend at the Aspen Institute
Tel: 202.736.2928

Ascend at the Aspen Institute Launches National Network to Disrupt Poverty for Children and Parents
50+ Leading Organizations Selected to Receive $1.2 Million Investment

Washington, DC, April 29, 2014 – Ascend at the Aspen Institute announced today the launch of the Aspen Institute Ascend Network, a new network of organizations using two-generation approaches to disrupt poverty and create economic mobility for families. Through the Ascend Network, the Aspen Institute will invest $1.2 million in wide-reaching policy and practice innovations to increase families’ educational success and economic security. The initial 58 organizations, selected from 24 states and the District of Columbia, represent the leading edge of a national movement around two-generation approaches. Two-generation approaches look at the whole family’s needs and provide opportunities for children and their parents together. The Aspen Institute will announce the leading-edge partners in a launch Twitter Chat at 12:00 noon EDT today, using the hashtag #ascendnetwork with the handle @aspenascend.

“These leaders are fueling change for America’s families,” said Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “As we reflect on the 50th anniversary of the ‘War on Poverty,’ the Aspen Institute is proud to invest in transformational ideas to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.”

The Aspen Institute identified these top 50+ organizations through a highly selective national competition. More than 250 organizations applied to join the Network and receive funding from the Aspen Institute Ascend Fund. The selected organizations range from community colleges seeking to better serve student parents and their children, to early childhood centers engaging parents in pathways to employment, to two-generation partnerships spearheaded by Promise Neighborhoods, United Ways, and women’s foundations. They join the Ascend Fellows, anchor members of the Network and pioneers in solutions for families.

In the United States today, nearly 45 percent of all children live in low-income families.  Almost 25 percent of today’s college students are parents. Yet our education and human services systems have not kept up with the needs of 21st century families. Together, Ascend Network members are redesigning programs and policies to create a legacy of opportunity that passes from one generation to the next.

See the complete list of Ascend Network members. Visit and follow @aspenascend for more information.

The list of selected Ascend Network members will be released to the public on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 12:00 pm (noon) EDT. You may join the webinar and participate in a Twitter Chat via #ascendnetwork and @aspenascend.

This work is made possible through support from the Scott and Patrice King Brickman Family Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Chambers Family Fund, The Ford Foundation, Ann B. Friedman, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Charlotte Perret Family Trust, and The Rocksprings Foundation.

Ascend at the Aspen Institute is the national hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move vulnerable children and their parents toward educational success and economic security. We take a two-generation approach to our work – focusing on children and their parents together. We bring a gender and a racial equity lens to our analysis. For more information, visit

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


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