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Focus Area

Developing Public Policy Solutions and Field Building

Through our place-based opportunity ecosystems and NextGen efforts, we leverage lessons learned about the structural barriers faced by families to advance policy solutions. This work is grounded in the importance of person-centered systems change. We see families and communities as experts on the future they envision for themselves. Therefore, we insist on engaging families as systems changers to develop policy solutions and support field building.

The two-generation approach is a central tenet in our program’s strategy. Therefore, we engage in supporting policy and field building efforts that create the enabling conditions to operationalize a two-generation approach. This takes several forms, including:

  • Hosting and supporting convenings about specific practice and policy issues
  • Working with our partners and community members to design forums in which we can share best practices
  • Providing and supporting technical assistance.

Issue areas include, but aren’t limited to, the racial wealth gap, inclusive economic rights, narrative change, employment, brain science informed practices, the human services value curve, equitable data and human-centered design. Our efforts also include supporting leaders of colors as essential partners.

We look for policy and field building efforts that include a focus on the two-generation approach and its principles, as well as other important enablers.

These five principles, developed by Ascend at the Aspen Institute, are embedded in two-generation programs, policies, and strategies:

  1. Measure and account for outcomes for both children and their parents, or the adults in their lives.
  2. Engage and listen to the voices of families
  3. Ensure equity, particularly racial equity.
  4. Foster innovation and evidence together.
  5. Align and link systems and funding streams.

Examples include:




Flipping the Script: Narratives about poverty, race and mobility in the U.S. 


Instituto del Desarrollo de la Juventud

New School