Asset Building within a Two-Generation Framework

It's an exciting (and busy!) time to be at Prosperity Now when everyone is preparing for the Assets Learning Conference. Not one staff person is left out in contributing energy, time and passion in planning the sessions. The Savings & Financial Capability Team is working on a number of sessions including a Financial Coaching Capacity-Building Intensive, Children's Savings and Aspirations, and Wealth Building and Protection in the Workplace.

Being a part of the planning process has been eye-opening for me as we recruit speakers, gain insights from leaders in the field and plan engaging panel discussions. One session that I have been particularly excited about is the Two-Generation Interventions session.

The two-generation strategy aims to break the cycle of poverty by focusing on both children and their parents together in creating opportunities for the whole family to move up the economic ladder. Most two-generation programs couple a quality, early childhood education program with services for parents that help them gain the resources, knowledge, and skills to achieve economic stability. These programs include employment and education, health and wellness, and parenting classes.

The Aspen Institute Ascend Network builds capacity for two-generation programs. Its goals are to mobilize and empower organizations and leaders to influence policy and practice in bringing opportunities to children, parents, and their families. Prosperity Now's President, Andrea Levere, is one of the Ascend Fellows who has brought asset building to the forefront as a crucial strategy to help children and families plan ahead for the future and achieve long-term success. The session at the Assets Learning Conference will focus on how two-generation programs can integrate financial capability into their work, such as Children's Savings Accounts, financial coaching and education, and access to affordable financial products.

As a part of this work, I have been conducting research and field scans that look at how two-generation programs can integrate financial capability strategies into their work and how parents can influence money management behavior in their children as they develop. It has been eye-opening to discover the many organizations that have innovative programs for both children and their families, including CAP Tulsa's CareerAdvance® program that helps parents advance their education and training for higher paying jobs while their kids attend an early childhood education center, or the Jeremiah Program that provides single mothers and their children with safe and affordable places to live coupled with early childhood education, life skills training and career-track education.

The asset-development field has a great opportunity to continue to advance the two-generation framework in helping parents and their children reach financial security. I look forward to hearing from innovative leaders at the Assets Learning Conference who are pioneering asset-building strategies within the two-generation framework to ensure that this generation—and the next generation—achieves upward mobility and opportunity.

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