Overview                                                                             Key Components                                                     2Gen in Action                2Gen Summit 2024                                                          Resources & Publications                                           Stories of Impact                                              

Focus on the Whole Family

Although a 2Gen approach to stability is as old as the family unit itself, these strategies became more formal and visible through the work of the Ascend at the Aspen Institute, which published "Two Generations, One Future" in 2012. Since then, Ascend at the Aspen Institute has led 2Gen, supporting initiatives in communities around the nation.

For more than a decade, the Community Foundation has partnered with Ascend, bringing strategies that center parent voices, address inequities, and build family strength in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. 

Key Components

Research indicates that areas that can be systematically changed to achieve equity and enhance overall wellbeing for families primarily fall under education (early through post-secondary), social capital, health, and economic security. The graphic below breaks down each component into measurable elements.


2Gen in Action

The six components of a 2Gen approach work interdependently, and programs that embrace the 2Gen philosophy will intentionally incorporate several components at once. Imagine a tapestry woven of different threads: education, economic empowerment, social capital... strong 2Gen programs, like a tapestry, weave different threads into the fabric, unraveling if one component or another is not present.

Thoughtful programming that nurtures and benefits the entire family--both immediately and in the long run--are at the heart of the 2Gen approach to wellbeing.

With that said, these components drive 2Gen strategies, and here's a look at initiatives in our community that the Community Foundation has led or invested in, classified by their dominant domain/component. 


Component One: Early Childhood Education

Literacy is widely regarded the key to learning, yet research from the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity indicates that roughly one in five people live with dyslexia, an unexpected difficulty in reading. 

Since 2018, our foundation has managed the Strauss Literacy Initiative, which addresses difficulty in reading and helps strengthen pathways to improved literacy through partnerships with educational providers. 

With the understanding that early intervention is most effective for mitigating dyslexia's challenges, a key partner in delivering services  is the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County. Together with educators and affected parents, it is the goal of the Strauss Initiative to develop strong reading skills from an early age.


Component Two: K-12

Schools can act as community anchors when educators, students, and parents work together to build pathways for the future. 

Our Community Foundation's investment in K-12 education is varied.  Summer Learning Academies, now in operation at all Sarasota County elementary schools, offer free, quality summer instruction to students to mitigate the often inequitable effects of "summer slide" while also providing an opporutnity for parents to continue to work without disruption. 

Together with many community partners, our Community Foundation invests in the Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading, concentrating on strengthening literacy skills that are the building blocks for successful outcomes. 

Empowerment and Success

Component Three: Postsecondary & Employment Pathways

Research indicates that parent educational attainment is the largest predictor of a child's success, both in school and later in life. This makes providing pathways to in-demand, lucrative careers an important component of 2Gen strategy.

A leading provider of scholarships in the four-county area, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County awarded more than $40 million in assistance to traditional students as well as adults returning to school

While financial assistance is critical, so too is a collaborative effort that removes other barriers from people pursuing higher education, especially for parents returning to school. Meeting parents where they are and ensuring that they are supported through the process is key, which has led to the implementation of a Parent Success Program that creates access and provides essential supports throughout the educational journey. 


Component Four: Social Capital

While individual motivation is critical to progress, collective input is often key to the most successful outcomes. Social capital—the networks of trusted relationships that enable society to run effectively—is a necessity.

Through Parent University, a component of Summer Learning Academies, and cohort-based educational opportunities, parents have an opportunity to meet with other like-minded people that can form bonds that build social capital.

Parents in cohort groups that are earning their credentials, simultaneous to achieving an education also gain relationships with peers that last a lifetime. 

The Parent Education Navigator is a role initially funded by the Community Foundation, now a position supported by Sarasota County Schools, that helps parents navigate the complex system of resources as they re-imagine their possibilities.  


Component Five: Health, Including Mental Health

With one in six adults in Sarasota County living without health insurance, the need for affordable and accessible healthcare is dire.

Our Community Foundation has partnered with several nonprofits delivering quality healthcare and counseling services to parents, families and children—either free or based on ability to pay. Some organizations include:


Component Six: Economic Assets

Shifting economic realities are placing stability further out of reach for many families—nearly 40 percent of single-parent Sarasota County households are rent-burdened.

Investments in affordable and workforce housing, such as Lofts on Lemon, have enabled affordable, dependable, and safe housing for many families.

The enduring safety net Season of Sharing, which in 24 years has distributed over $38 million to more than 50,000 families, has covered one-time expenses, like rent or mortgage, utilities, and other necessities so that families can rebound from economic setbacks. 

2Gen Summit 2024


On Feb. 6, 2024, our Community Foundation hosted a community-wide 2Gen Summit, where practitioners, parents, and policymakers came together to examine the ways in which our community has woven 2Gen approaches into programs and to learn new ideas for strengthening the region's intentional support of whole families. 

Resources & Publications

2Gen Summit Report

2Gen Parent Success Impact Report 2020-2021

Investing in Whole Families:
The Impact of 2Gen Strategies in Early Learning

A Two-Generation Approach to Summer Learning

Community Leadership for 2Gen Approaches: A Case Study in Sarasota, Florida

Stories of Impact

May 21, 2024

The Forever Promise of a 2Gen Approach

By Blog, Homepage - Blog,

There’s an old saying:
“A parent is only as happy as their least happy child.” For many, this sentiment rings true as an illustration of the interdependency of parents a…

March 15, 2024

Community Foundation of Sarasota County “Parent Leadership Grant” Opened March 1

By Press Release, Blog, Homepage - Blog,

The grant encourages nonprofit organizations to incorporate parent voice in decision-making. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— The Community Foundation of Sarasota County has opened a new grant o…

March 8, 2024

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

By Blog, Roxie Jerde, Homepage - Story of Impact,

Many who know me know that I truly believe in the value of teamwork. Collaboration is critical to making visions become reality, and this is a guiding principle for me, whether I’m consi…

February 21, 2024

Community Foundation of Sarasota County's Regional 2Gen Summit Underscores Importance of Supporting Families

By Press Release, Blog, Homepage - Blog,

The event convened practitioners, parents, and policymakers to continue existing enthusiasm and galvanize new support for empowering families and communities FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—The…

February 1, 2024

Clarity and Curiosity

By Blog, Roxie Jerde, Homepage Spotlight Item, Homepage - Blog,

Some of you may recall that Frank Sinatra song, “On a Clear Day,” where he croons, “On a clear day you can see forever.” I’ve been thinking about that song lately…

January 12, 2024

Transforming Families Through a 2Gen Approach

By Homepage - Story of Impact, Story of Impact - Featured, Scene Magazine,

Mireya Morales has many convictions, but one stands above all: “I don’t want my children to be statistics,” she says. “I want more for them.” A child of Mexican i…