By TOM JOYCE
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – California is launching a universal basic income pilot program, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced.
California is launching its Guaranteed Income Pooled Fund. The program is, “a philanthropic endeavor to help organizations fund their Guaranteed Income Pilot Programs by helping pilot projects unlock more than $25 million in grants from the state,” according to the release.
“As people across the country struggle with global inflation, this guaranteed income pilot program provides some much-needed support and breathing room for the most vulnerable Californians,” Gov. Newsom said in the press release. “This public-private partnership will accelerate our ability to get money to these individuals and families, showcasing Californians coming together to support one another.”
Under the program, the Pooled Fund will support guaranteed income pilot projects that need additional resources to launch, sustain, or enhance their pilot.
These pilot projects will collectively serve more than 1,975 Californians – primarily former foster youth and pregnant women – by providing them with $600 to $1,200 per month, for 12 to 18 months, according to the release.
To receive state funding, pilot project awardees must match 50% or more of the State’s award.
Contributors to the pooled fund include the Sierra Health Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, California Wellness Foundation, Blue Shield of California Foundation, May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, and the Weingart Foundation. The state expects further contributions from other organizations.
California Wellness Foundation Vice President of Programs Lori Cox said it’s vital to run tests to see if a universal basic income could benefit society.
“Income security is essential to health and wellbeing. We are proud to participate in the Guaranteed Income Pooled Fund, as it leverages the state’s historic investment for exploring how unconditional, unrestricted cash can improve the lives and trajectories of Californians most in need,” Ms. Cox said in the release. “And we look forward to selected pilots contributing robustly to the public policy discussion.”
Manuel Santamaria, Vice President of Community Action at Silicon Valley Community Foundation, also sees a benefit to a guaranteed income. He said that he thinks it will benefit low-income and minority communities.
“Investing in the Pooled Fund aligns naturally with our work to advocate for equitable policy and sustainable income strategies for low-income communities of color,” he said in the release. “We are proud to join our foundation peers to invest in this opportunity and to amplify the collective impact of philanthropic resources on these critical pilot programs.”
Plus, Miguel A. Santana, President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation, thinks this program could help shape future public policy.
“We’re proud to support the state’s Guaranteed Income Pooled Fund Pilot and to further invest in innovative and transformative programs that can change lives,” Mr. Santana said in the release. “With equity at the center of the GI Pilot’s design, we’re looking forward to deepening our understanding and learning about guaranteed income initiatives, and to contribute to California’s history of leading the way on public policy.”
The Asset Funders Network, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, the Economic Security Project, and Social Finance form an advisory council that will review funding applications from those interested in the State-funded Guaranteed Income Pilot program.
“Pooled Fund partners expect to host an upcoming funder briefing to provide the philanthropic community with more information regarding this and other opportunities to support guaranteed income initiatives in the state,” the governor’s office said.