Work • Guaranteed Income

It's more than a check, it's the freedom everyone deserves.

The time has come for a proven policy: cash, with no strings attached.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
The Challenge

We believe in an America in which all families have the economic security and freedom needed to thrive. However, because of special interests and decades of disinvestment in public goods and services, too many Americans are unable to make ends meet. While worker productivity and corporate profits have soared, wages have remained stagnant. Efforts to invest in communities and provide the tools needed to build a good life have been targeted by austerity politics and racial discrimination, making it impossible for people to build a strong economic foundation for themselves and their families.

The result? Today nearly half of all households don’t even have $400 in cash on hand to deal with an emergency or unexpected bill.


guaranteed income initiatives have been announced nationwide since 2017


participants have received cash in 35 states

Our Plan

Our plan is as bold as it is effective: give people cash, no strings attached. This has been proven to work, time and again. During the height of the pandemic, millions of families received direct cash payments from the federal government, with overwhelmingly positive results. These direct cash payments provided breathing room when the situation was most dire, affording people the stability and comfort of knowing they could cover bills and groceries while the job market recovered.

But stressful times are not unique to this pandemic, and a guaranteed income has been proven to work even outside such extraordinary conditions. Two groundbreaking programs supported by the Economic Security Project demonstrate exactly that.

The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) gave 125 randomly selected families in Stockton, California $500 per month for 24 months across both pre-pandemic and pandemic years, as part of a mayor-led program. The results were dramatic. In addition to experiencing less income volatility, SEED participants were actually more likely to find full-time employment. Participants found they had resources and time for things like job training that could advance them to more secure positions. They also reported enhanced well-being, and less anxiety and depression.

The Magnolia Mother’s Trust, a program of a community-based organization, gives Black mothers living in federally-subsidized housing in Jackson, Mississippi $1,000 per month for twelve months. Now in its fourth cohort, the program has led to a dramatic increase in the percentage of mothers who are able to put food on the table, pay their bills, and have money left over for emergencies. Participants report a sense of joy in being better able to care for and spend time with their children. They had more self-confidence and a feeling of agency in their lives. One participant reported improvements in mood and mental health that were noticeable even to doctors and coworkers.

Building on this great work, we’re pushing this fight forward. We’re exploring how guaranteed income can provide powerful leverage for worker movements by giving workers a “strike fund” that allows risk-taking and collective action and rebalances power in employment relationships. We’ve convened hundreds of practitioners and policymakers through the Guaranteed Income Community of Practice to coordinate activities, share learning,  and deepen our thinking around guaranteed income. And we’re using lessons learned from successful pilot programs like SEED and Magnolia Mother’s Trust, and federal programs like the expanded Child Tax Credit, to advocate for cash policies and greater access to cash.

A guaranteed income provides solid ground on which families can build healthy lives, with the space to set goals and make unconstrained choices–an opportunity all people deserve. We are committed to moving from pilots to policy to make this proven and effective measure widely available so that everyone enjoys the empowerment and stability it provides.

Campaigns and Projects

Guaranteed Income Community of Practice

The Guaranteed Income Community of Practice (GICP) convenes policy experts, advocates, researchers, leaders, funders, practitioners and elected officials to learn and collaborate in the maturing arena of unconditional cash programs.

Automatic Stabilizers

Automatic cash creates a more resilient economy. By ensuring that families have the resources they need in all economic conditions, we can fight racial disparities and enhance trust in governance.

Cash as Care

Cash As Care explores how guaranteed income improves the lives of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and immigrant mothers, leading to improvements in health, family, and extended community relationships – and the general quality of life for everyone.

Cash and Worker Power

Guaranteed income is a permanent strike fund. With the economic security of an income floor, all workers have more freedom to fight for better wages, conditions, and mobility.

Pilots to Policy

States can lead the way to a federal guaranteed income. State Earned Income Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits put more money back into the pockets of working people and can function as a guaranteed income, laying the groundwork for federal policies.