What We Fund

What We Fund

We support projects that explore and champion unconditional cash for Americans.

The initiatives we run and support are focused on immediate opportunities to help Americans make ends meet and strategies to advance bold ideas on unconditional cash. In our first year, our grantees have published groundbreaking research on the macroeconomic implications of basic income in the United States, built diverse coalitions around a carbon fee and rebate for DC residents, and produced documentaries on the long history of basic income ideas.

Our Priorities

We fund RESEARCH to better understand the promise and risks of cash-based benefits, advocacy CAMPAIGNS to expand them, and creative CULTURE work to inspire people to think about how cash provides economic security to all. Our grantees are diverse in mission, size, and leadership, but share a commitment to the economic security of Americans and a belief that we owe it to the American people to combine big thinking with rigorous evidence to find viable and innovative solutions to remedy the economic instability faced by millions of Americans.

Grantee Highlights

The Roosevelt Institute

The Roosevelt Institute bring together thousands of thinkers and doers—from a new generation of leaders in every state to Nobel laureate economists—working to redefine the rules that guide our social and economic realities. They are analyzing potential revenue options, reviewing the behavioral impact of unconditional cash transfers on labor market participation, education, and entrepreneurship, and modeling possible macroeconomic impacts.

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Niskansen Center

The Niskansen Center is a libertarian think tank that works to change public policy through direct engagement in the policymaking process: developing and promoting proposals to legislative and executive branch policymakers, building coalitions to facilitate joint action, and marshaling the most convincing arguments in support of our agenda. They are producing original research on child allowance and exploring a robust, universal income floor as a prosperity-enhancing policy.

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Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN)

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is a grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting global warming in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. They are building a grassroots coalition and campaign for support of a local carbon tax that would be rebated in equal shares to all D.C. residents.

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Center for Popular Democracy

The Center for Popular Democracy works to create equity, opportunity and a dynamic democracy in partnership with high-impact base-building organizations, organizing alliances, and progressive unions. They are exploring potential efforts to reimagine and expand the state earned income tax credit (EITC).

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Golden State Opportunity

The Golden State Opportunity Foundation works to improve the lives of lower and middle income Californians through a program of research, analysis, public information and education. They are exploring opportunities to expand on the existing efforts around the CalEITC to set California apart as a state committed to increasing economic security for all of its residents.

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Listen First Tour

Led by Mia Birdsong, a celebrated family activist who advocates for the strengthening of communities and the self-determination of low-income people, the Listen First Tour will refocus the voices of people who are poor as central to the conversation on a basic income to ensure a movement that is inclusively built and led with people who are poor holding power.

Truth Be Told Media

Truth Be Told Media helps good causes tell their story through the art of film by listening, exploring, investigating, learning, creating insights and crafting compelling stories to help causes make an impact. They are creating a short documentary film that profiles women and teens who directly benefited from the Manitoba guaranteed income experiments in the 1970s.

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Stanford Basic Income Lab

Stanford University’s Basic Income Lab aims to grow, coordinate, and support the growing research effort around unconditional cash. They are fostering a cohort of researchers and thinkers to tackle different questions that will emerge in the debate in the next few years.

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GiveDirectly sends money directly to the poor with no strings attached, guided by rigorous evidence of impact. They are working with leading economists to organize an ambitious experiment that will rigorously test the impact of different models of basic income over 12 years. The GiveDirectly experiment is the first large-scale, long-term experiment of its kind.

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Leap Forward Project

The Leap Forward Project is dedicated to exploring new ideas and tinkering with new ideas to expand economic security in California. They are hosting convenings to discuss the future of cash-based policies in California and building organizing capacity among key constituencies.

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The American Center

Our initial investment with the American Center is designed to fight the cuts to the yearly dividends, which are currently a major target in the state’s fiscal debate. Given its role as one of the most cited examples of cash transfers, it’s critical to protect the Fund in the form it has successfully existed in for the last few decades.

Y Combinator Research

Y Combinator Research is bringing together leading researchers to implement the the first study of basic income in the United States. They will leverage the technical expertise, ingenuity, and operations strengths of Silicon Valley to explore what it could mean to have a basic income in America.

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Universal Income Project

The Universal Income Project is devoted to the expansion of economic security and human dignity through the implementation of a universal basic income in America. They will build public and grassroots support for a universal income.

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University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions

The University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions engages multiple disciplines and extends beyond basic research. It drives change by focusing on collaborative, action-based research partnerships with communities, policymakers, and stakeholders. They will host a workshop on basic income for scholars to engage on the state of the art in basic income studies.

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Street Art Anarchy

Street Art Anarchy curates and produces high impact public art projects. They are curating 2-3 public murals to explore these of economic security and basic income.

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Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Bridging economic and environmental justice, CCAN has proposed a bill for DC outlining a carbon fee-and-rebate program the would put unconditional cash into the pockets of the people. Set for a vote this spring, they will be modeling different tax rebate and “green investment” scenarios as the bill is debated.

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Chris Benner and the Universal Technological Dividend Working Group

Could technological advancement be seen as a common property, from which everyone should benefit? This new group will examine the research, framing and policy opportunities for a Universal Technology Dividend.

Income Outcome 

A feature documentary that explores the idea of Universal Basic Income through the lens of rural America, incorporating human interest stories, conversations with thought leaders, and a look at Alaska’s current system as a model for the rest of the country.

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Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage 

How is the unconditional cash from the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend affecting the wellbeing of Alaskans? By looking at health and employment outcomes, this research aims to use the PFD to answer some of the systemic questions about the effects of a basic income.

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Insight Center for Community Economic Development

How can we center conversations about UBI as a tool for racial justice? As an organization focused on economic justice research and advocacy, Insight will be investigating current and potential narratives around work, race, personhood and deservedness, and the role that UBI could play in reimagining the social safety net.

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Institute for the Future 

What assets, beyond income, are needed to provide economic security? The Institute for the Future will do foundational work to explore what will be key assets in the next 10 years that people could leverage to generate incomes and how these might expand existing approaches to UBI.

Jane McGonigal

How might our opinions of UBI shift with increased empathy for our future selves? McGonigal will be investigating how to increase our ability to consider new possibilities and shift the choices we make about our own futures, through participatory games.

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Martin Kirk of The Rules 

What narrative on economic security will do the most to move people to support a universal basic income? Kirk is digging into data and emerging narrative forms to identify new, creative pathways to galvanize action and support for an equitable economy.

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Open Democracy

A vital platform for news and advocacy, Open Democracy, along with Beyond Trafficking and Slavery, will expand their coverage of UBI and its relationship to freedom. They will produce a new video critically reflecting on the work of ‘modern abolitionists’ and the concept of ‘freedom as the power to say no.’

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Sarah Cowan at New York University 

Could unconditional cash improve reproductive health and birth outcomes? Cowan will be examining how cash transfers affect the reproductive lives of women, the health of their pregnancies and their newborns.