Giving Compass’ Take:
• Daniel Porterfield at The Aspen Institute uses his own experience to talk about how support from organizations and employers can allow families the opportunity to break cycles of poverty.
• How can your giving impact current and future families’ opportunities for success?
• Learn more about how philanthropy can improve social mobility.
At age 30, with two kids and no college degree, my mother found a teaching job and enrolled in night school. She would go on to earn her both her master’s and a doctorate and become a renowned scholar of women in the American West.
My mother’s journey was made possible, in part, because of the support she received from her employers while raising her family. Looking back, I’m struck by the power of these good employers to help our whole family move into the economic mainstream.
Ascend at the Aspen Institute understands this power, too, which is why it’s helping employers build opportunity ecosystems for families. Led by executive director Anne Mosle, Ascend does this through its creation of a network of leaders spearheading innovative strategies that can break cycles of intergenerational poverty all around the country.
Two overarching themes in this work stand out:
First, remember that all work should be infused with dignity. Parents are not looking to work simply to make ends meet; they want to have thriving families. This means that the compensation we offer should include access to affordable health care, high-quality child care, and the opportunities for further learning. And it means having the ability to use these benefits without shame or fear of retribution.
And second, when developing policies and programs to support the families in your workplace, make sure parents are valued as full partners in all conversations. When it comes to family finances or time management, most working parents are flexible, adaptable, and think on their feet. They know what they need to raise healthy, resilient children.
That’s the right thing to do and the smart thing to do—for families, for businesses, and for society. It certainly worked in my case.
Read the full article about how employers can help end intergenerational poverty by Daniel Porterfield at The Aspen Institute.
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