Some of our country’s most relentless and entrenched problems, like deepening income inequality and inter-generational poverty, are persistent because they cut across sectors and institutions. Systemic barriers to upward mobility lock families in a cycle of poverty that we at Ascend have made our mission to break using the two-generation (2Gen) approach, meeting the needs of children and the adults in their lives together.
When almost half of all children in the United States live in families with low incomes, system-level change is needed. Moreover, the solutions we pursue necessitate innovation: fresh, nimble, and pragmatic ideas for increasing family stability and well-being. That’s why the Aspen Institute’s new Morgridge Family Economic Security Innovator in Residence program, funded through the generous support of the Morgridge Family Foundation, presents a tremendous opportunity to create tangible, positive changes in the lives of children and families. The Innovator in Residence will serve not only as a powerful innovator, but as a policy strategist and thought leader to help frame and disseminate important field resources to advance practice and policy solutions for families.
The first Innovator in Residence will be Roxane White – president and CEO of the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) – a renowned political strategist and communicator with a particular expertise in policy change at the state level. A member of the 2015 Aspen Institute Ascend Fellowship cohort, she has been instrumental in Colorado’s pioneering adoption and implementation of the 2Gen approach across the state’s human services systems. She was previously chief of staff for Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper, executive director of Denver Human Services, and the creator of the first Pay for Success deal with NFP. Roxane will bring a fresh lens to policy solutions we pursue at the state and local levels, where some of the most efficient and effective policy interventions often occur.
In the words of Carrie Morgridge, vice president at the Morgridge Family Foundation, “If we want transformative solutions for families with low incomes, we need to shake up the way we think about the challenges” facing families across the country. The Innovator in Residence program represents exactly the kind of innovation we need to ensure educational success and economic security for every family, and we look forward to sharing Roxane’s work as the inaugural holder of this role.