Advancing Social and Economic Mobility

A Report from the Next Generation of Human Services Organizations Second Cohort

Welcome to the Next Generation of Human Services Organizations Initiative

The North Star of the Next Generation of Human Services Organizations Initiative is to build organizational capacity and activate new strategies and solutions that improve human services outcomes and achieve racial equity in social and economic mobility.

Created by The Kresge Foundation and facilitated by Leadership for a Networked World at Harvard University, the Initiative embarked on a two-year journey to design the future of human services.

The insights, case studies, and action steps captured on this website reflect the work of the second cohort of the NextGen Initiative and are developed for human services organizations nationwide and globally to create a better, brighter, and more equitable future for individuals, families, and communities.

Learnings from the Initiative


In July of 2019, the Kresge Foundation identified 10 human services organizations – both private nonprofit and public human services organizations - in cities across the country that were setting the pace of improving social and economic mobility (SEM) for children and families living with low incomes: 

Over the next two years, with the support of the Kresge Foundation, Leadership for a Networked World, and a hand-picked Advisory Board, designed a learning experience to accelerate the cohort’s leadership and operational capacity to deliver person-centered outcomes and impact. The two-year journey included learning about strategy and leadership, sharing best practices and innovations, and accelerating efforts to advance two-generation approaches, make data-informed decisions, take steps to advance racial equity in order to accelerate social and economic mobility, and drive large-scale person-centered systems change.


This initiative is made possible by the Kresge Foundation and delivered by Leadership for a Networked World.

The Kresge Foundation was founded in 1924 to promote human progress. Today, Kresge fulfills that mission by building and strengthening pathways to opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities, seeking to dismantle structural and systemic barriers to equality and justice. Using a full array of grant, loan, and other investment tools, Kresge invests more than $160 million annually to foster economic and social change. For more information visit, or find them on Twitter at @kresgehumansvcs.

Leadership for a Networked World (LNW) creates transformational thought leadership and learning experiences for executives building the future. Founded in 1987 at Harvard Kennedy School, LNW is now an applied research initiative of Dr. Antonio M. Oftelie at the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard. Since 1987, LNW has delivered more than 200 learning events and gathered more than 12,000 alumni globally. To learn more about LNW please visit

Participant Testimonials

What progress has your organization made
in the past two years?

“In this past legislative cycle, we have collectively sponsored and supported several criminal justice and family supportive state bills, including CA SB 354, which would make it easier for extended family members to take-in children removed by the State from their biological parents, and AB 990, which would guarantee incarcerated individuals a right to visitation, something that was dismantled during the pandemic and caused extreme isolation for those incarcerated. Both bills passed both branches of the California legislature and are currently awaiting Governor Newsom’s signature.

Root & Rebound and Time for Change Foundation