History of ACEs Connection
Jane Stevens launched ACEs Connection in January 2012 with ACEsConnection.com, a community-of-practice social network and ACEsTooHigh.com, a news site for the general public. The intent was to inform people, organizations, and communities about a new understanding of human behavior that had been emerging since 1980s. It was clear that this new knowledge had the potential to solve our most intractable problems. The network was designed to connect the pioneers who were integrating trauma-informed and resilience-building practices based on ACEs science across sectors. This included pediatricians, educators, business owners, judges, people working in juvenile justice, social workers, people in the faith-based community, emergency medical technicians, etc.
In 2014, ACEs Connection received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment, and began operating as a nonprofit through a fiscal sponsorship with Prevention Institute. At that time, a small team of people began working with Stevens to grow ACEs Connection. In March 2016, ACEs Connection received another round of funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and TSNE MissionWorks became our fiscal sponsor. Subsequently, at the end of 2016, ACEs Connection received a second round of funding from The California Endowment. In 2017, the Lisa & John Pritzker Family Fund, The George Sarlo Foundation, and Genentech began providing support.
ACEs Connection has become the hub for the ACEs movement. Between 2012-2019, ACEsConnection.com grew from 200 members and no community sites, to nearly 40,000 people from every state in the U.S. and more than 40 countries, with more members joining daily. More than 350 communities representing ACEs initiatives have launched in nearly every state in the U.S. and in several countries, with more community sites launching weekly. The community sites can be thought of as mini-ACEsConnections that support ACEs initiatives in cities, counties, regions, states, and nations. The network also supports interest communities such as ACEs in Education, ACEs in Pediatrics, and Parenting with ACEs, and organizational groups such as California Essentials for Childhood.
Page views on ACEsConnection.com increased from a few hundred a month in 2012 to between two million and five million a month by the end of 2019. On ACEsTooHigh.com, articles receive from a few hundred to more than a million page views. Since its inception, ACEsTooHigh.com has also grown: in 2012, it had 471,000 page views and 3,600 visitors; by 2019, it had nearly three million page views and two million visitors.
Since 2012, ACEs Connection has used Marshall Ganz’ five-pronged approach to grow the ACEs movement — relationship building, storytelling, structure, strategy, and action. Our initial strategy focused on educating people and organizations about ACEs science, telling stories about people and organizations in different sectors who developed practice-based evidence that inspired others to take action, connecting people who were doing similar work, and developing a networking structure to support all this.
In our next phase, beginning in 2020, we are focusing focus on systems and policy change. That means creating a national scaffolding using distributed networking technology that links the “mini-movements” taking place in thousands of geographic- and interest-based communities, providing them tools to support their work, and then scaling up that approach. To accomplish this, we launched the ACEs Connection Cooperative of Communities for communities that need advanced tools to measure progress, as well as more guidelines and services.
From these communities will emerge new healing-centered systems that integrate ACEs science from the start (for example, creating a healing-centered system that merges schools and healthcare...something that the State of Oregon is developing) and that can be replicated throughout the world. Our relationship-building and storytelling continues; we have seen those elements light a fire of participation, innovation and sea-change across the world.
ACEs Connection is a social network that recognizes the impact of a wide variety of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in shaping adult behavior and health, and that promotes trauma-informed and resilience-building practices and policies in all families, organizations, systems and communities. We support communities to accelerate the science of adverse childhood experiences to solve our most intractable problems. We believe that we can create a resilient world where people thrive.
Marianne Avari, Network Manager