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2Gen approach

Ascend at the Aspen Institute


Over the past five years, Spitfire has collaborated with Ascend at the Aspen Institute on its Two Generation (2Gen) approach, which encourages policymakers, nonprofits, community groups and funders to see the value in addressing the needs of both children and their parents together. 2Gen focuses on five areas: postsecondary education and workforce, early childhood education, economic supports, health and well-being, and social capital.  

Our charge is to help Ascend socialize the2Gen approach among both the emerging field of practitioners and experts, as well as policymakers to see the value in it and talk consistently about the tenets of it.  

We first worked with Ascend and their polling partner Lake Research to confirm using the term 2Gen was the best way forward, and then tested language that framed it in a way that would appeal across issues, geographies and ideologies. This included polling, focus groups of thought leaders and parents, and interviews with policy leaders at the state and federal levels.   

We then developed message platforms for the organization, as well as their growing network of fellows and partners to use common language that would build political will to expand 2Gen efforts across states and at the federal level. Spitfire conducted a messaging workshop and developed a messaging guide and tip sheet for the Ascend Fellows to use as they talk about the work. We continue to offer messaging and communications advice at gatherings throughout the year about successfully communicating this concept. 

We’ve integrated this message into reports on policy priorities and programs that serve as models to scale. It has been used in communications with policymakers, including tailored packages for all incoming new governors in 2018. And it is infused in gatherings Ascend convenes and attends from the National Governors Association to the Aspen Forum on Children and Families.  

We continue to evolve how we talk about 2Gen as the emerging field establishes itself and see how the language is picked up and spread by fellows and partners alike.  

Spitfire services employed

Campaign creation


Partner with Us

Issues Covered

Children and Families

Economic Justice/Economic Equity