Guaranteed Income


Cash is one of the most direct and effective ways to provide financial stability to those who most need it.

Instead of a patriarchal approach of dictating how, where and on what terms individuals can build their lives, cash offers the dignity and self-determination that recognizes a one-size-fits-all approach is antiquated and rooted in distrust. Years of research show that when given unrestricted payments, recipients are able to pull themselves out of poverty and create economic stability for themselves and their families. That’s why we have invested in both on-the-ground and policy efforts to put more cash in the pockets of Americans who need it most.

The Economic Security Project has channeled over $10 million through direct, aligned and in-kind support to groundbreaking research and projects that have moved the debate on how to alleviate economic instability, city-led pilots that have challenged conventional wisdom on the root causes of poverty and viable state campaigns to modernize and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (just passed in California and Maine). We did this by making strategic – sometimes risky – bets, and creating a diverse and collaborative network. A few highlights include:

Cash As Care

In this paper, we assert that a federal guaranteed income would give mothers of color some of the resources they have long been fighting for, the very resources that would build better health and address the health inequities we see in our communities. In other words, we assert that a federal guaranteed income is a public health intervention whose time has come.

Guaranteed Income Community of Practice

The Guaranteed Income Community of Practice convenes guaranteed income stakeholders, including policy experts, researchers, community and program leaders, funders, and elected officials to promote learning and collaboration in the burgeoning arena of unconditional cash programs. Economic Security Project is proud to partner with and elevate the expertise of Springboard To Opportunities, the Stanford Basic Income Lab, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, the Center for Guaranteed Income Research, and Asset Funders Network as co-conveners of this work.

States Lead the Way

A new guide developed in collaboration by the Shriver Center on Poverty Law and Economic Security Project shows why and how states should engage with guaranteed income projects.

Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED)

Beginning in February of 2019, the mayor-led SEED program began distributing $500 each month to 125 Stocktonians. The payments will continue for 18 months, resulting in both quantitative and qualitative research examining the impact of the guaranteed income project.

Magnolia Mother’s Trust

In 2019, the Magnolia Mother’s Trust provided $1,000 a month for one year to 20 Black mothers living in extreme poverty in Jackson, MS. A second year of the program began in March of 2020, with 110 moms participating.

Cost-of-Living Refund

While pilots are an integral component of making the case for a guaranteed income, we are also focused on how to scale up those efforts to both the state and national level. By building off one of our nation’s most effective anti-poverty tools, the Earned Income Tax Credit, our Cost-of-Living Refund would support the poor and middle class by expanding the definition of work to include caregivers and students and offering monthly payments of up to $500; essentially providing the same benefit as a guaranteed income.

How to Apply for Funding

We are eager to support creative ideas and smart strategies to advance cash as a solution. At this time, we accept proposals only by invitation.

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