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Boston Medical Center Joins Aspen Institute Initiative to Advance Innovative Strategies for Families’ Health and Economic Prosperity

July 29, 2020

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BOSTON, MA – Boston Medical Center’s StreetCred program has been named to the second cohort of the Aspen Family Prosperity Innovation Community, an Aspen Institute initiative for breakthrough innovations and collaborations that position families to reach educational success, economic prosperity, and health and well-being. The launch of this community, Ascend, could not come at a more crucial time, as businesses and communities reimagine how we support families as we navigate and respond to the coronavirus pandemic, racial injustice, and economic upheaval.

This new phase of Family Prosperity brings together 20 national and community-based organizations and 14 expert advisors from across the U.S., including employers in the public and private sectors. Working beside families and guided by their expertise and experience, this community will develop, refine, and amplify strategies and solutions that remove barriers and accelerate prosperity for families, centering people of color and those with low incomes.

“We are excited to join the Family Prosperity Innovation Community, working together to empower families to live healthier lives with better futures,” says Lucy Marcil, MD, pediatrician, founder of Boston Medical Center’s StreetCred program, and lead on this initiative. “With this two-year grant, BMC’s StreetCred program will continue to improve the overall well-being of family health through poverty reduction, while creating a platform across the community to elevate this work and create policy change.” 

StreetCred is an innovative program established at Boston Medical Center which offers free tax services to families receiving pediatric care at BMC, returning over $6.3 million to more than 3,000 low-income families to date. Based out of the Department of Pediatrics, the service functions as a solution to the financial burden a significant portion of BMC patients face from living with annual incomes below the federal poverty level. With the Aspen Family Prosperity Innovation Community grant, StreetCred will be able to incorporate financial coaching as a part of a pilot model of care via the Center for the Urban Child and Healthy Family at BMC, where Marcil is also the associate director for economic mobility.
 
This community is vital to facing the challenge of the moment: keeping prosperity from slipping away for families. The coronavirus pandemic is threatening our health and our economy, spotlighting the existing cracks in the nation’s systems that millions of Americans have been falling through for generations. As leaders aim to stem the fallout, Family Prosperity is in the position to catalyze long-term solutions that will work for families now and well after the pandemic is over.

Together, Family Prosperity will:
•    Build, disseminate, and implement a portfolio of actionable approaches and strategies  that put child and family outcomes at the center, including innovations in paid leave and child care; equitable support for families’ health, mental health, and well-being; employment partnerships; and public benefits programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
•    Identify a set of practices and policies that can shift the narrative around families with low incomes and transform policymaker, practitioner, and public mindsets; and
•    Create and refine bold policies that can influence the private sector and the way workers, particularly those with low wages, are supported, employed, and trained.

Family Prosperity, supported by a $7 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is geographically diverse, with partners in states from Alaska to Tennessee, Massachusetts to New Mexico. This second cohort brings a heightened focus to engaging the business community and the role of employers in advancing employment, educational opportunities, and the health and well-being of families. Family Prosperity partners are not only thought leaders, but employers themselves, and are thinking deeply about how they engage with their communities. Advisors from Sodexo, FedEx, Trupo, and other employers also join us to share their perspective and strategy for approaches to prosperity that are collaborative with the business sector. 

Boston Medical Center is a private, not-for-profit, 514-bed, academic medical center that is the primary teaching affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine. It is the largest and busiest provider of trauma and emergency services in New England. Boston Medical Center offers specialized care for complex health problems and is a leading research institution, receiving more than $97 million in sponsored research funding in fiscal year 2018. It is the 15th largest funding recipient in the U.S. from the National Institutes of Health among independent hospitals. In 1997, BMC founded Boston Medical Center Health Plan, Inc., now one of the top ranked Medicaid MCOs in the country, as a non-profit managed care organization. Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine are partners in Boston HealthNet – 14 community health centers focused on providing exceptional health care to residents of Boston. For more information, please visit http://www.bmc.org.

The Aspen Family Prosperity Innovation Community (Family Prosperity) is catalyzing breakthrough innovations and collaborations, rooted in gender and racial equity, that strengthen parents’ and families’ access to employment opportunities, economic security, and health and well-being. This new phase of Family Prosperity brings together 20 policy-change and community-based organizations and 14 expert advisors from states across the U.S., including employers in the public and private sectors. Working beside families and guided by their expertise and experience, these cross-sector leaders will develop, refine, and amplify strategies and solutions that remove barriers and accelerate prosperity for all families, centering people of color and those with low incomes. 

Ascend at the Aspen Institute is the national hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move children and their parents toward educational success, economic security, and health and well-being. We take a two-generation (2Gen) approach to our work – building family well-being by intentionally and simultaneously working with children and the adults in their lives together. We bring a gender and a racial equity lens to our analysis. 

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.