Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 12:03pm

New funding helps launch guaranteed income programs helmed by member mayors in 25+ U.S. cities

  Mayors For A Guaranteed Income (MGI) today held a press call announcing a second grant of $15M from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey through his #startsmall initiative. This builds on Dorsey’s initial donation of $3 million in July 2020. These new funds are already being allocated to launch or expand guaranteed income pilots in U.S. cities including Columbia, SC; Los Angeles, CA; Madison, WI; Pittsburgh, PA; Providence, RI; Richmond, VA; Tacoma, WA; Saint Paul, MN; and New Orleans, LA, with more cities to be announced later. The full recording of the press call can be found here.

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, who founded MGI following the demonstrable impact of Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED), the first mayor-led guaranteed income pilot, said: “We are a nation in crisis and the last one of this scale yielded dramatic social reform; this is our New Deal moment. We need a social safety net that goes beyond conditional benefits tied to employment, works for everyone and begins to address the call for racial and economic justice through a guaranteed income. These pilots and the resulting evidence will be instrumental in shaping what the 2021 social contract looks like in America.”

Laura Kidd-Plummer, a recipient of guaranteed income in Stockton joined a press call hosted by MGI and said, “I’m breathing a sigh of relief at this point because without being with SEED, or being a participant, I don’t think I’d be sitting in this chair right now.”

Mayor of Madison, WI Satya Rhodes-Conway said: “I am deeply appreciative of this seed funding which will allow a group of Madison families to chart their own path toward financial stability. Because affordable housing is such a critical issue in the City of Madison, my staff is exploring how we can design and implement a pilot that places housing affordability and security at the center of this conversation.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti sits on the Mayors For A Guaranteed Income executive committee and said, “The grant is a testament to the momentum of this organization and cause -- and a tribute to a simple, yet innovative idea: that offering direct aid to struggling families translates into greater security for our economy, stability for our communities, and peace of mind for households across our cities. With this investment, we can act on that mission and activate a new way of lifting up folks hard-hit by the short-term pain of the pandemic or the long-term consequences from structural and institutional inequalities.”

Mayor of Saint Paul, MN Melvin Carter sits on the Mayors For A Guaranteed Income executive committee and said, “Guaranteed income is a clear path toward economic and racial justice for Americans. This incredible support will broaden the reach of this movement as we further develop evidence for these programs.”
This grant accelerates the momentum MGI has built across the country; several mayors have either committed to launch or already launched guaranteed income pilots:

  • In Saint Paul, MN, Mayor Melvin Carter has launched and begun disbursements for People’s Prosperity Pilot, which will provide up to 150 Saint Paul families with $500 per month in guaranteed income for up to 18 months.
  • Richmond, VA Mayor Levar Stoney has launched the Richmond Resilience Initiative, which will empower 18 working families to meet immediate needs and build wealth to break the cycle of poverty.
  • Mayor Aja Brown has launched the Compton Pledge giving 800 Compton residents a guaranteed income of varying amounts for a two-year period.
  • Pittsburgh, PA, Mayor Peduto has announced the Assured Cash Experiment of Pittsburgh (AcePGH) will provide 200 residents with $500/month, for 24 months. Building on work by Pittsburgh Gender Equity Commission, AcePGH will serve 100 randomly selected Black women who are at or below 50% AMI.
  • Columbia, SC Mayor Stephen Benjamin will provide 100 residents with $500/month, for 24 months through the CLIMB program. CLIMB will be targeted for black fathers, and recipients will be selected in partnership with the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition.
  • Oakland, CA Mayor Libby Schaaf announced a partnership with the Family Independence Initiative to work to secure funding to serve 300 families with children.
  • Mayor of Tacoma, WA Victoria Woodards said: “We’re grateful for this generous grant that will allow us to accelerate our pilot building, and we are excited that we will soon be able to offer support to the Tacoma community members who need it the most.”
  • Mayor of Columbia, SC Stephen Benjamin said: “We have been eager to launch a pilot since joining Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, and these funds will allow us to more quickly disburse badly needed financial assistance to fathers in our CLIMB program.”
  • In addition to pilots, MGI also advocates for cash-based policies at the federal level. There are currently at least 10 Congressional bills to provide pandemic-related payments to struggling Americans, and more than 125 economists recently demanded national leaders pass another round of stimulus checks.
    MGI, together with the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice, has also established the Center for Guaranteed Income Research to consolidate the key learnings from the pilots taking place in MGI member cities to address knowledge gaps and allow the organization to layer data with anecdotal evidence.
    If you would like additional information or to schedule a follow up conversation with leaders and experts with Mayors For A Guaranteed Income, please reach out to Saadia McConville, saadia@mayorsforagi.org

    About Mayors for a Guaranteed Income
    Building off his first-of-its-kind guaranteed income pilot (SEED) and rooted in Dr. King’s legacy, Mayor Michael D. Tubbs (Stockton, CA) founded Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), in partnership with the Economic Security Project, in June 2020. Mayors will come together in this network to advocate for a guaranteed income—direct, recurring cash payments—that lifts all of our communities, building a resilient, just America. Since its establishment in June 2020, the coalition has created a significant increase in support for guaranteed income policy across the country, passing a resolution in support of guaranteed income at the United States Conference of Mayors and submitting a sign on letter to House and Senate leadership in support of the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act. Follow MGI on Twitter and Facebook.
     

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