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The Aspen Institute: #4 High Impact Nonprofit in National Workforce Development

November 30th, 2010 by Erinn Andrews Leave a reply »

The Aspen Institute, our top #4 nonprofit in national workforce development, was noted by our experts for its demonstrated ability to improve workforce development outcomes through sector-based strategies.

Here’s the story of how the Aspen Institute got started:

Chicago businessman Walter Paepcke (1896-1960), chairman of the Container Corporation of America, first visited Aspen, Colorado in 1945. Inspired by its great natural beauty, he envisioned it as an ideal gathering place for thinkers, leaders, artists, and musicians from all over the world to step away from their daily routines and reflect on the underlying values of society and culture. He dreamed of transforming the town into a center for dialogue, a place for “lifting us out of our usual selves,” as one visitor to Paepcke’s Aspen would put it.

To make this dream real, in 1949 Paepcke made Aspen the site for a celebration of the 200th birthday of German poet and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The 20-day gathering attracted such prominent intellectuals and artists as Albert Schweitzer, Jose Ortega y Gasset, Thornton Wilder, and Arthur Rubinstein, along with members of the international press and more than 2,000 other attendees.

The next year, Paepcke created what is now the Aspen Institute.

Today the Aspen Institute’s mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events.

(Learn more here:

Read more reviews from workforce development experts here to learn more about the great work the Aspen Institute is doing.


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