Community Foundation of Sarasota County named to national network by Aspen Institute to disrupt poverty for children and parents
The Community Foundation of Sarasota County was recently announced as a member of the Aspen Institute Ascend Network, a new network of leading organizations using two-generation approaches to disrupt poverty and create economic mobility for families. The Community Foundation is one of the initial 58 organizations, selected from 24 states and the District of Columbia, that 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.
“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 the Community Foundation 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 ranged 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.
The Community Foundation has already worked with Ascend at the Aspen Institute, which served as a crucial resource for the foundation in its work with the Alta Vista Elementary School community. At Alta Vista, donors and the foundation, along with numerous community partners, are providing significant resources to offer summer educational enrichment (the Eagle Academy) for students, arts and educational resources all year round, and educational and scholarship opportunities for parents, including a fully funded Certified Nursing Assistant course for single mothers.
“We are grateful to Ascend at the Aspen Institute for helping to inspire our work with the Alta Vista community,” said Community Foundation president and CEO Roxie Jerde. “By working with two generations, whole families – and, thus, whole communities – can be lifted from poverty to economic stability. We take great pride in the impact we’ve had on the lives of those seeking educational advancement and future opportunity and hope to use this two-generation model in other communities.”
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, the Community Foundation and the Ascend Network 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 at http://ascend.aspeninstitute.org/network.