[Source Image: wacomka/iStock]
While the official poverty rate in the U.S. hovers around 12%, it increases to around 21% when you factor in gender and race. Motherhood, and the exorbitant costs of raising a childhood in America, further compound the issue.
A new year-long basic income pilot launching in December in Jackson, Mississippi, aims to address the wealth disparities around race, gender, and motherhood by equipping black mothers with $1,000 a month. The pilot, called Magnolia Mother’s Trust, will launch with 15 women receiving the stipend. Aisha Nyandoro, the CEO of Springboard to Opportunities, a Jackson-based nonprofit leading the program, aims to eventually scale it to reach at least 100 families.
Basic income programs operate around the principle that providing marginalized populations with enough capital to bring them above the poverty line will create benefits for both the recipients of the cash, but also for their larger communities. The various basic income pilot programs that have launched in recent years have met mixed fates. Y Combinator launched a pilot project in Oakland, California, but is waiting to scale and study it further out of concerns that the additional money would cause recipients to lose state benefits. In Ontario, the newly elected conservative government has called for an early termination to a robust basic income pilot that was, by all accounts, delivering considerable benefits to the 4,000 low-income residents it reached.
Most basic income programs so far haven’t been universal, and have focused giving recipient’s funds to low-income people. But Magnolia Mother’s Trust is the first to target an even more specific demographic. In aiming to support specifically black mothers, Nyandoro wants to call attention to the issue of entrenched, systemic poverty in communities–particularly Jackson, where 80% of the population is black, and around 30% lives below the poverty line–and how deliberate, focused financing can help alleviate some of the associated pressures.