A key component of a child’s success is a whole family focus. 

The Community Foundation’s two generation (2Gen) approach encompasses a new mindset for designing programs and policies that serve the whole family, both child and parent, simultaneously. Informed by a partnership with Ascend at the Aspen Institute, a 2Gen structure posits that a powerful way to help families challenged by a variety of barriers is to integrate supports around the education, social capital, economic asset, and health and well-being of the entire family.

Hear From A Parent Success Program Participant

Lynnette Coney had always dreamed of working in healthcare, but her educational journey was full of starts and stops. With multiple family caretaking responsibilities on her plate, support with childcare, parenting, and financial planning was critical. 

We first connected with Lynnette Coney and her family in 2018 through our 2Gen Parent Success Program. While connecting with her peers, she worked on and achieved her LPN credential.

Listen to her story of setbacks and successes on her path to becoming a nurse in this episode of the 1 in 5 Podcast by Apsen Ascend.

Why Focus on Parents?

Alta Vista Parent Graduation

Research shows that:

  • Parental educational level is an important predictor of children’s educational and behavioral outcomes.
  • Access to higher education helps drive economic mobility for families.
  • Parents who have attended college have children with better quality-of-life indictors.
  • Parental education has been identified as the single strongest correlate of children’s success in school, the number of years they attend school, and their success later in life. 
  • Measure outcomes for both children and their parents.
  • Engage and listen to the voices of families.
  • Ensure racial equity and a gender lens.
  • Foster innovation and evidence together.
  • Align and link systems and funding streams.

As informed by our partnership with Ascend at the Aspen Institute, we adhere to five principles for 2Gen Work.

Post-Secondary Supports for Parents

Since 2012, the Community Foundation has partnered with the Sarasota County School District to implement a 2Gen approach to investing in educational programs that benefit students experiencing poverty in north Sarasota County Title I elementary schools, while also providing comprehensive supports for their parents.

These "Parent Success" strategies have centered around assisting parents and/or family members from four targeted attendance zone elementary schools (Tuttle, Alta Vista, Gocio, and Emma E. Booker) with attaining college degrees or industry-recognized certifications, and/or the foundational skills to pursue such credentials.

This is accomplished with the guidance of a Community Foundation-funded Parent Education Navigator housed at the Adult Education Center of Alta Vista Elementary School, and through post-secondary scholarships and other resources made possible by the Community Foundation and its community partners, such as Suncoast Technical College, UnidosNowWomen's Resource Center, CareerSource Suncoast, and The Literacy Council of Sarasota.

To date, 79% parents enrolled in college programs have completed their credentials. The average annual wage increase is more than $5,000 per year.

Parent University


The Community Foundation also invests in a weekly “Parent University” program as part of the Summer Learning Academies. These classes focus on family wellness, parent career development, and more.

Parent University

Get Involed

Kirsten Russell 

Vice President, Community Impact