Mission and Impact
Aspen Across America hosts live, unscripted, and non-partisan conversations in cities across the United States. Events range from town-hall gatherings to intimate salons, and touch on a wide variety of topics including arts and culture, current affairs, health, education, the economy, and business. The goal of Aspen Across America is to bring the Aspen Institute's signature values-based exchanges to diverse American communities.
Aspen Across America is one of two programs directed by Eric Motley under the banner of National Programs. The other is Aspen Around Town, a Washington, DC-based event series with a parallel mission to advance leadership and dialogue in our nation's capital.
Since Aspen Across America hosted its first event at Christie’s New York nearly a year and a half ago, the program has travelled to six cities across the United States, ranging from metropolitan Austin, TX to rural Bentonville, AR and spanning both coasts. In each of these events, Aspen Across America has brought together local leaders with Institute guests and speakers from across the nation, shining a light on the character of particular American communities, while sparking national collaborations.
Aspen Across America events have attracted over one thousand citizens including elected officials, educators, business leaders, and students. The Aspen Institute has further extended this audience via digital channels, social media, and traditional press outreach.
Aspen Across America has brought together the vast talent roster of the Aspen Institute, including CEO Walter Isaacson, with esteemed leaders from diverse disciplines, including Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway; Michael Dell of Dell Technologies; former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick; two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alan Taylor; James Beard Award-winning chef Frank Stitt; and a host of leading American philanthropists, public officials, academics, and entrepreneurs.
Aspen Across America’s programs are founded upon deep engagement with nonprofits, institutions of higher learning, and private donors, forging lasting, outcome-oriented relationships that link diverse American communities facing common challenges. University partners have included the University of California at Davis, Texas at Austen, Nebraska at Omaha, and the University of Virginia. Nonprofits have included the Buffett Early Childhood Institute, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation / Monticello, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Private supporters have included Jacqueline Mars and Mars, Incorporated, Amy and Gilchrist Berg, and Michelle Smith of the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation.