[DENVER, CO] – Activate joins the second cohort of the Aspen Family Prosperity Innovation Community, Ascend at the Aspen Institute’s initiative for breakthrough innovations and collaborations that position families to reach educational success, economic prosperity, and health and well-being. Activate’s involvement in the initiative is part of a larger partnership that is led by the nonprofit CrossPurpose and includes the Colorado Department of Human Services and The Bridge Network.
The launch of this second cohort could not come at a more crucial time, as businesses and communities reimagine how we support families as we navigate and respond to the coronavirus pandemic, racial injustice, and economic upheaval.
This collaboration is vital to facing the challenge of the moment: keeping prosperity from slipping away for families. The coronavirus pandemic is threatening our health and our economy, spotlighting the existing cracks in the nation’s systems that millions of Americans have been falling through for generations. As leaders aim to stem the fallout, Family Prosperity is in the position to catalyze long-term solutions that will work for families now and well after the pandemic is over. Activate, a people-centered placement agency and professional coaching firm, is in the proud position of having none of its placements laid off during the pandemic – a testament to the quality of the jobs we recruit into.
This new phase of Family Prosperity brings together 20 national and community-based organizations and 14 expert advisors from across the U.S., including employers in the public and private sectors. Working beside families and guided by their expertise and experience, this community will develop, refine, and amplify strategies and solutions that remove barriers and accelerate prosperity for families, centering on people of color and those with low incomes.
In Colorado, the CrossPurpose coalition will assist low-income families in building assets and securing a living-wage job with benefits while removing obstacles for the entire family.
“Being a part of the Aspen Family Prosperity Innovation Community fast-forwards our employer-focused solutions and allows us to contribute to strategic, thoughtful policy dialog around helping families move beyond poverty and toward economic freedom,” said Dan Kaskubar, Activate’s Chief Operating Officer.
Together, Family Prosperity will:
- Build, disseminate, and implement a portfolio of actionable approaches and strategies that put child and family outcomes at the center, including innovations in paid leave and childcare; equitable support for families’ health, mental health, and well-being; employment partnerships; and public benefits programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
- Identify a set of practices and policies that can shift the narrative around families with low incomes and transform policymaker, practitioner, and public mindsets; and
- Create and refine bold policies that can influence the private sector and the way workers, particularly those with low wages, are supported, employed, and trained.
Family Prosperity, supported by a $7 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is geographically diverse, with partners in states from Alaska to Tennessee, Massachusetts to New Mexico. This second cohort brings a heightened focus to engaging the business community and the role of employers in advancing employment, educational opportunities, and the health and well-being of families. Family Prosperity partners are not only thought leaders, but employers themselves, and are thinking deeply about how they engage with their communities. Advisors from Sodexo, FedEx, Trupo, and other employers also join us to share their perspective and strategy for approaches to prosperity that are collaborative with the business sector.
Ascend at the Aspen Institute is the national hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move children and their parents toward educational success, economic security, and health and well-being. We take a two-generation (2Gen) approach to our work – building family well-being by intentionally and simultaneously working with children and the adults in their lives together. We bring a gender and a racial equity lens to our analysis.
The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.
CrossPurpose is a nonprofit organization abolishing relational, economic and spiritual poverty through career and community development. The CrossPurpose program is guided by three primary objectives. First, we seek to prepare and equip unemployed or underemployed neighbors for meaningful careers with a sustainable living wage. Through a comprehensive 6-month program, we impart critical soft skills during the first 6 weeks of the program, collaborate with local education partners to build marketable skills, and assist in job search and placement. Secondly, alongside critical professional development, we engage those we serve in transformative personal development, addressing and overcoming barriers to self-sufficiency through compassionate case management. Finally, through a unique relational component, CrossPurpose brings neighbors together across lines of race and class in mutually beneficial relationships.
About The Bridge Network
The Bridge Network was created by the Gardner Family Foundation to match single mothers with employers seeking employees who are willing and able to work. Our unique concept provides a well-vetted and job ready individual with a company that intentionally hires, trains and develops the individual over a two-year period. TBN provides oversight and assistance to the employer to remove barriers that have kept the mom in a low-paying job and help move her and her family to self-sufficiency. For more information visit www.bridgenetworkcolorado.com
About the Colorado Department of Human Services
The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) connects people with assistance, resources and support for living independently. CDHS uses a two‐generation approach to guide services and programming; this approach encourages CDHS programs to serve children and their caregivers together, to harness the family’s full potential and to put the entire family on a path to permanent economic security. An important part of the two-gen approach is the Family Voice Council, a 20 member group of individuals who have been involved with, or are currently engaging in, two CDHS services or programs. The Council’s mission is voices of the family advocating for more equitable and accessible human services for all.