2021: We Charged On

12. 21. 2021

2021 was a challenging year for many, but it was also a year where we persisted in challenging the status quo.

“Now’s the time to show the truth: Millions of people living in poverty, or on the brink of it, is a failure of our systems, not of our people.”

-Dorian Warren, Economic Security Project Co-Chair & Community Change Co-President

We pushed for policies that kept families afloat. More than $1 trillion in federal dollars — through stimulus checks, the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit — gave families some peace of mind this year. The expanded Child Tax Credit alone pulled 3.6 million kids out of poverty. Nine out of every 10 low-income families used the Child Tax Credit to afford basic needs, like food, clothing, rent, and utilities.

Guaranteed income pilots took off this year. In the spring, the Stockton pilot announced the research results from their first year of payments. The data proved that direct cash programs help people become gainfully employed and mentally healthier. Chicago and Los Angeles announced the two largest publicly funded guaranteed income programs to date. And ESP’s outgoing Senior Policy Strategist Hope Wollensack announced an Atlanta-based pilot project that will distribute $850 a month to up to 650 Black women for two years.

Anti-Monopoly Fund grantees urged the new administration to curb the concentration of corporate power — and they listened. Anti-monopoly champions Lina Khan, Tim Wu, and Jonathan Kanter were appointed to key regulatory roles. And Pres. Biden issued a sweeping once-in-a-generation executive order to reduce the stranglehold that monopolies have in our economy.

As the news out of Washington this week shows, we have a long road ahead. But we’re grateful for the staff, funders, grantees, and partners who have made these steps forward possible.