As the cost of living rises in Austin, families in low-income households face limited economic mobility. Parents who want to pursue higher paying jobs are confronted with complex educational systems, time constraints, and a lack of affordable, high-quality childcare. Their children grow up with fewer resources, which often leads to poor educational outcomes and continues the cycle of poverty.
United Way’s 2-Gen approach supports families living in low-income households by intentionally providing services to parents and children simultaneously. The 2-Gen approach provides families with opportunities to further their education, build social capital, maintain their physical and mental health, and increase economic well-being and overall stability.
UWATX and community partners are working collaboratively to implement a 2-Gen approach to programs and services in Austin. In 2015, community leaders created a 2-Gen Vision for Austin, outlining their shared goal of coordinated services for parents and children.
2-Gen Vision for Austin: “Policies and programs are designed, and their resources are aligned, to help parents improve basic educational skills and become economically stable, to strengthen parents’ ability to be positive influences on their children’s development, and to help children achieve their maximum potential by simultaneously addressing the needs of parents and children. Meeting the needs of both generations will produce larger and more enduring effects than can be achieved by services parents and children separately.”
Austin/Travis County 2-Gen Strategic Planning Process
With funding provided by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, UWATX and community partners are currently developing the 2-Gen Strategic Plan for Austin and Travis County. The goal of the plan is to create an ecosystem of programs and services designed to meet the needs of whole families, making it easier for them to access social and economic opportunity. This five-year plan will serve as a roadmap to operationalize the 2-Gen Vision for Austin by articulating clear goals, performance measures, strategies, and year-by-year action steps to develop a stronger ecosystem of support for whole families. The goals are captured in four categories addressing intergenerational poverty: Educational Success, Health and Well-Being, Social Capital, and Economic Stability. The plan is expected to be complete in January 2019.
Key strategic planning stakeholder groups:
- 2-Gen Advisory Council: System-level leaders and decision-makers focused on orienting the policy and programmatic vision of the plan.
- 2-Gen Stakeholder Network: Community service providers and other stakeholders from housing, transportation, and health focused on developing the content of the strategic plan.
Through our Community Investment Grants, UWATX supports programs and partnerships that strengthen families by serving both parents and children. In 2018, thanks in part to the generous support of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, we awarded 2-Gen grants totaling $496,000 to nine organizations:
- American YouthWorks
- Goodwill Excel and Exploration Center
- Jeremiah Program Austin
- Todos Juntos Learning Center
- Saint Louise House of Austin
- Communities in Schools of Central Texas
- Austin Voices for Education and Youth
- Literacy Coalition of Central Texas
In partnership with The Siemer Institute’s Family Stability Initiative, UWATX is currently supporting two additional 2-Gen community programs:
In addition to our 2-Gen Investments, UWATX continues to support Foundation Communities with a financial stability grant for their Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
Policy Research Project (2017)
UWATX partnered with students at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin to identify community needs, program assets, labor market trends, and program evaluation strategies within the 2-Gen framework. The research team recommended the creation of new partnerships among agencies to provide comprehensive services using a 2-Gen approach.
The team also created a website with mapping tools to identify community needs and program assets by zip code within the 2-Gen framework.
To learn more about our 2-Gen approach, contact:
Carinne Deeds, Director of 2-Gen/Financial Stability: Carinne.Deeds@uwatx.org
Sarah Koestler, 2-Gen Coordinator: Sarah.Koestler@uwatx.org
Austin 2-Gen In the News
- Community Models: The United Way (Ascend at the Aspen Institute)
- “United Way for Greater Austin receives $450,000 grant to fight systemic poverty”
- “LBJ Student Policy Research Project Supports Collaboration Among Area Service Providers in Addressing Poverty”
Resources to Create a 2-Gen Approach in Your Community
- Advancing Two-Generation Approaches series (Annie E. Casey Foundation)
- Strengthening the Foundation: Strategic Evidence for Two-Generation Approaches (Annie E. Casey Foundation)
- Community Guide to 2Gen Approaches (Ascend at the Aspen Institute)
- Building Community Resilience: Coalition Building and Communications Guide (Milken Institute School of Public Health and Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention & Wellness)
- Two-Generational Strategies to Improve Immigrant Family and Child Outcomes (Center for Law and Social Policy)
- Serving Immigrant Families Through Two-Generation Programs: Identifying Family Needs and Responsive Program Approaches (Migration Policy Institute)