Ascend at the Aspen Institute

ascend smAscend is a policy program of the Aspen Institute ( and 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 both children and their parents together — and bring a gender and racial equity lens to our analysis. Read about two generation strategies here.

The two-generation strategy: Low-income families in Utah are facing increasingly hard times. The overall poverty rate is 13.2 percent. The poverty rate for children has grown steadily, from 11 percent in 2007 to 16 percent in 2011. The research is clear that poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s well-being. Children raised in poverty are much more likely to be poor as adults. While even a few years in poverty can have a significant impact on children’s future well-being, the risks are particularly severe for those who experience multiple years and will often pass on to their own children poverty conditions with all the attending consequences. We believe that the most effective way to put children on a path to productive, successful adulthood is through two-generation strategies – strategies that both help parents move their families ahead economically and improve young children’s health, development and educational success. Two-generation strategies are vital to reducing socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities that affect children’s life chances.

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