Ascend Advisors and Partners

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 work is guided by an Advisory Committee and informed by a Leadership Circle.

Below is a snapshot of the former and current portfolio of partners that The Ascend Fund has supported since 2020.

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.

New American Leaders

New American Leaders empowers first and second generation Americans to run, win, and lead. It is the only national, nonpartisan organization focused on bringing New Americans into the political process.


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

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.

Higher Heights

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

Latinas Represent

Latinas Represent aims to increase the number and diversity of Latinas in public service to transform communities and our democracy.

Victory Institute 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.

Running Start

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

She Should Run

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.

Vote Mama Foundation

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


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.


mothering justice

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


GLPA-LEAD Education Fund trains, supports, and develops diverse leaders to effectively implement policy and manage organizations across Michigan.


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

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.



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.

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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.

Womens Foundation

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 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.


One America With Justice for All

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

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.

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

Comunidad Latina de Vashon_edited

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.

Yvette Alexander
Yvette Alexander
Former D.C. Councilmember
Jane Campbell
Former Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio
Nellie Gorbea
Former Rhode Island Secretary of State
Sharon Jackson
Former Alaska State Representative
Dr. Donna Lynne
Former Lieutenant Governor and Chief Operating Officer of Colorado
Mee Moua
Former Minnesota State Senator
Sandra Mortham
Former Secretary of State of Florida
Frances Romero
Former Mayor of Guadalupe, CA
Deborah Ruggiero
Former Rhode Island State Representative
Evelyn Sanguinetti
Former Lieutenant Governor of Illinois
Florence Shapiro
Former Texas State Senator

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.

Kellie Adesina
The Kraft Heinz Company
Director, Federal Government Affairs
Chanell Autrey
Director of Government Affairs
Harmony Barbera
Manager, Federal Affairs
Jamey Battle
Mannone Butler
NBA Social Justice Coalition
Head of Programs & Partnerships
Adrienne DiCasparro
Director, The Audacious Project
Sarah Dolan Schneider
S-3 Group
Vice President
Julia Gonzales
VP, Government Relations
Jamie Hackleman
JP Morgan Chase
Senior Philanthropy Advisor
Jessica Hogle
Tennessee Valley Authority
Vice President, Federal Affairs
Angela Hooks
Public Policy Manager
Sarah Jackson
HNTB Corporation
Central Division, Government Relations Director
Nicole Jefferson
Senior Manager, U.S. State Public Policy
Winnie Karanja
Represented Collective
Founder and CEO
Traci Kraus
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
Director Of Public Affairs
Amanda Nguyen
Fragrance Creators Association
Vice President, Government Affairs & Legal
Anne Perkins
Director, Government Relations
Nia Ray
State Government Affairs Director
Keenan Reed
Alpine Group Partners
Vice President
Julie Riccio
Regulatory Affairs & Public Policy Director
Lisa Roman
Vice President, Public Policy
Breanna Schafer
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
Laura Wood Peterson
Laura Wood Peterson Consulting