Who We Are

The Ascend Fund is a collaborative fund dedicated to accelerating the pace of change toward gender parity in U.S. politics. We pool philanthropic capital and make mission-driven investments in nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations that break down barriers preventing women from running for office and winning.  

OUR Team

The Ascend Fund is powered by Panorama Global, a platform for social change dedicated to solving pressing problems through audacious thinking and bold action.

Our national partners

We celebrate strategists. Seek disruptors. Cultivate connections.

 

By partnering with organizations bolstering change where it matters, we're making strides with lasting power.  

ANCHOR ORGANIZATIONS

Our two anchor organizations received three-year, $500,000 annual grants and work closely together to elect a truly representative democracy.

 
The New American Leaders logo

about

New American Leaders empowers first and second generation Americans to run, win, and lead.

   

New American Leaders is the only national, nonpartisan organization focused on bringing New Americans into the political process. They accomplish these goals by:

  • Training and inspiring immigrant leaders to run for office.

  • Building coalitions among New American elected leaders.

  • Researching solutions to create a more diverse corps of leaders.

 

New American Leaders believes that when our elected officials mirror the makeup of our nation, we achieve stronger communities, a more responsive government, and a robust democracy. 

by the numbers: 

  • Over 1,110 trained  

  • 127 NAL alums elected  

  • 82 appointed  

  • 65 served as campaign leaders  

  • 61% average win rate of alums between 2016-2019

The Vote Run Lead logo

about: 

Vote Run Lead trains barrier-breaking women to unleash their political power, run for office, and transform American democracy.

  

Vote Run Lead believes there's an urgent need for an intersectional wave of women to lead within our democracy. So they're championing women ready to fight for democracy by tackling system reforms with bold ideas.

Vote Run Lead's award-winning Run As You Are curriculum guides women through a process of radical self-inquiry, wherein their backgrounds, experiences, and values become their authentic platform. Trainees emerge as grounded, effective, collaborative leaders for their communities and, with hundreds of thousands of elected offices in the US, there is a place for every woman to take the lead.

  

by the numbers: 

  • 400% growth since 2015  

  • 60% of participants are women of color  

  • 20% of participants hail from rural America  

  • Largest single day of training reached 3,000 women in 20 cities and online

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ADVANCE NATIVE POLITICAL LEADERSHIP

ANPL aims to increase the representation of Indigenous people, especially Indigenous women, in elected office at all levels and create pathways to leadership for emerging Native candidates across the country.

APAICS logo

ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR CONGRESSIONAL STUDIES

APAICS is dedicated to promoting Asian Pacific American participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office.

Higher Heights Leadership Fund logo

HIGHER HEIGHTS LEADERSHIP FUND

Higher Heights Leadership Fund is investing in a long-term strategy to expand and support Black women's leadership pipeline at all levels and strengthen their civic participation beyond just Election Day.

IGNITE logo

IGNITE

Ignite is a national movement of women who are ready and eager to become the next generation of political leaders.

LatinasRepresent Logo

LATINASREPRESENT

LatinasRepresent is an initiative to increase Latina participation throughout the civic engagement continuum, inspire more Latinas to seek public service opportunities, and create a more reflective democracy.

Victory Insititute Logo

Victory Institute works to increase the number of LGBTQ people in public office and to provide programming, services, and other support to help ensure their success. 

LGBTQ VICTORY INSTITUTE

Running Start logo

RUNNING START

Running Start gives young women and girls the confidence, capabilities, and connections they need to run for public office.

She Should Run logo

She Should Run motivates women from all walks of life to explore the possibility of public office by identifying and tackling the barriers to elected leadership.

SHE SHOULD RUN

Vote Mama Foundation logo

VOTE MAMA FOUNDATION

The Vote Mama Foundation enables mothers to find their political voice, making it easier for them to run and win.

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WOMEN'S PUBLIC LEADERSHIP NETWORK

Women's Public Leadership Network provides center- and right-leaning women with the knowledge and resources to make seeking public office and engaging in the political process more accessible.

Our state partners

Our state partners work collaboratively to increase the number of women serving in state legislatures. Activities include coalition building, barrier reduction, candidate recruitment and training, and message development on the importance of women leaders.

michigan

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MOTHERING JUSTICE

Mothering Justice empowers mothers of color to influence policy on behalf of themselves and others.

The Rising Voices Fund logo

RISING VOICES FUND

Rising Voices Fund supports and funds the infrastructure to organize Asian American women and young people for power in the state of Michigan.

Equality Michigan logo

EQUALITY MICHIGAN

Equality Michigan is a statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer political advocacy organization.

She Holds the Key logo with a purple key

SHE HOLDS THE KEY

She Holds the Key works to remove barriers and provide support for center and center-right leaning women seeking elected office and appointments in Michigan.

MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi Black Women's Roundtable logo

MISSISSIPPI BLACK WOMEN'S ROUNDTABLE

The Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable is an intergenerational, civic engagement statewide network of black women and girls  that focus on increasing voter participation, civic engagement and champions equitable public policy on behalf of Black women and girls in Mississippi.  MS BWR is an affiliate of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation/Black Women’s Roundtable.  

NEW Leadership Mississippi logo with a silhouette of a jumping woman

MISSISSIPPI UNIVERSITY FOR WOMEN

Mississippi University for Women’s NEW Leadership Mississippi educates college women about the important role that politics plays in their lives and encourages them to become effective leaders in the political arena.

Women's Foundation of Mississippi logo

WOMEN'S FOUNDATION OF MISSISSIPPI

The Women’s Foundation of Mississippi is a public foundation that works to eliminate the social and economic barriers faced by women and girls throughout the state.

ACLU of Mississippi logo

ACLU OF MISSISSIPPI

The Mississippi affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union dedicates their time and resources to promoting and defending the civil liberties of citizens across the state through legislation, litigation, and advocacy.

WASHINGTON

OneAmerica logo

ONEAMERICA

OneAmerica is the largest immigrant and refugee advocacy organization in Washington State, organizing with and advocating for diverse communities including Latinx, African, and Asian.

Puget Sound Sage logo, including an outline of a city and a fist holding a sage leaf

PUGET SOUND SAGE

Puget Sound Sage charts a path to a living economy in the South Salish Sea and Duwamish River Valley regions by developing community power to influence, lead and govern.

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NATIVE ACTION NETWORK

Native Action Network is a Native-led nonprofit organized to promote Native women’s full representation, participation, and leadership in local, state, tribal, and national affairs.

Fix Democracy First logo

FIX DEMOCRACY FIRST EDUCATION FUND

Fix Democracy First Education Fund focuses on voter education, voter registration, outreach, and expanding civic participation across Washington state and beyond.

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COMUNIDAD LATINA DE VASHON

Comunidad Latina de Vashon was founded by Latina women to cultivate youth and adult community leaders to use their strengths to change systemic injustices on Vashon Island

OUR ADVISORS

Our work is guided by an Advisory Committee comprised of formerly elected women from both sides of the political aisle. These leaders share their personal experience and knowledge in order to increase opportunities for other women in politics.

 

Leadership Circle

The Leadership Circle is a network of women leaders in business, government, and philanthropy who are committed to The Ascend Fund’s goal of electing more women at every level of government.

Name
Company
Title
Kellie Adesina
The Kraft Heinz Company
Director, Federal Government Affairs
Chanell Autrey
Target
Director of Government Affairs
Harmony Barbera
PG&E
Manager, Federal Affairs
Mannone Butler
NBA Social Justice Coalition
Head of Programs & Partnerships
Adrienne DiCasparro
TED
Director, The Audacious Project
Julia Gonzales
Amplify
VP, Government Relations
Jamie Hackleman
JP Morgan Chase
Senior Philanthropy Advisor
Jessica Hogle
Tennessee Valley Authority
Vice President, Federal Affairs
Angela Hooks
Dropbox
Public Policy Manager
Nicole Jefferson
Amazon
Senior Manager, U.S. State Public Policy
Winnie Karanja
Represented Collective
Founder and CEO
Traci Kraus
Cummins
Director, Government Relations
Holly Kuzmich
George W. Bush Presidential Center
Senior Vice President
Monica Laufer
Argo AI
Public Policy and Government Relations, Eastern US LEAD
Anne Morley
Democracy Fund
Program Associate
Haley Morris
Cruise
Director Of Public Affairs
Amanda Nguyen
Fragrance Creators Association
Vice President, Government Affairs & Legal
Anne Perkins
Adobe
Director, Government Relations
Nia Ray
Cigna
State Government Affairs Director
Keenan Reed
Alpine Group Partners
Vice President
Julie Riccio
PwC
Regulatory Affairs & Public Policy Director
Marisa Rodriguez-McGill
Lyft
Senior Public Policy Manager
Lisa Roman
Bumble
Vice President, Public Policy
Breanna Schafer
Target
Senior Director, Government Relations
Kori Schake
American Enterprise Institute
Director of Foreign and Defense Policy
Kaitlin Sighinolfi
International Paper
Director Government Relations, International Affairs
Heidi Tringe
MMR
Partner
Laura Wood Peterson
Laura Wood Peterson Consulting
Founder