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The In Her Hands guaranteed income program is expanding, but we need your help.

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The In Her Hands guaranteed income program is expanding, but we need your help.

Support Black women: no strings attached.

The largest U.S. guaranteed income program supporting Black women is expanding - and we need your help.

Applications for the In Her Hands initiative will open in early 2024. To be alerted when applications go live, sign up using this form.If you have any questions about the program, please contact us directly at www.givedirectly.org/support or email us at info@thegrofund.org.

"In Her Hands" is a guaranteed income initiative focused on Black women, led by the Georgia Resilience and Opportunity (GRO) Fund and GiveDirectly. It is the largest guaranteed income project in the South, and one of the only projects nationwide that spans urban, suburban, and rural communities. Since launching our pilot program in 2022, we have been providing 650+ women across Georgia an average of $850 monthly for two years. The learnings from this pilot program are already generating valuable, policy-relevant evidence on the role of cash in supporting increased financial security and wealth building for Black women.

That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’re expanding the In Her Hands program! Thanks to generous funding from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and others, we plan to enroll an additional 200+ women in the program, with an initial focus in the English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods on Atlanta’s Westside. We are in the process of finalizing additional site locations.

We’ve already learned so much.

Just a few months into the program, our research findings already show progress across a wide range of indicators. Participants have reported that:

  • Phone service cutoffs dropped by 33% - which is crucial for seeking and maintaining employment.
  • Inability to pay bills in full and on time decreased by 24%.
  • Average savings increased by 38%, rising from $267.37 to $368.25.
  • Inability to make food last for their families decreased by 21%, with the percentage of those needing to skip or reduce meals dropping by 32%.
  • Educational enrollments jumped by 39%.

Our goal is to launch this expansion of the In Her Hands program in early to mid-2024. To do so, we need your support to reach our full fundraising goal, which will enable us to provide direct cash to hundreds of low-income women in new communities across Georgia.

Donate today to ensure we reach as many women as possible.

FAQs

What communities does the program serve?

Currently, the project supports women in three communities.

  1. Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward (O4W): The O4W is the home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Corretta Scott King and our first location, remains one of the most unequal communities Atlanta. Nearly 1 out 4 Black residents lives below the poverty line.
  2. Clay, Randolph and Terrell Counties in Southwest Georgia: Further south, in what was historically “cotton country,” Clay, Randolph, and Terrell County residents make up our rural cohort.
  3. City of College Park: Finally, women in the suburb city of College Park lead our third site.

We are expanding to serve additional communities in early 2024.

How do I apply or learn more when the application opens?

Applications for the In Her Hands initiative will open in early 2024. To be alerted when applications go live, sign up using this form.

How were communities involved in the design of this project?

This project emerged from the recommendations of a community-driven task force that examined the root causes of economic insecurity and wealth disparities in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. The task force found that Black women face some of the harshest economic insecurity and financial instability, with significant ripple effects on families and communities. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting increase in the cost of living, these insecurities for Black women have only gotten worse.

Why is the program focused on Black women?

Black women face more economic insecurity as a result of systemic barriers like pay inequality and fewer economic buffers than nearly any other demographic in Georgia. Black women earn $0.63 on the dollar to white men in Georgia, and 38% of Black women in the Old 4th Ward of Atlanta live in poverty, compared to 26% of Black men and 8% of white women. Black women in Georgia also face uniquely high barriers to wealth creation. Many act as primary caretakers, and must deprioritize health costs or take on debt to cover their family’s basic needs. While people and communities are incredibly resilient and resourceful, Black women are among the most likely group to experience cash shortfalls that make covering basic needs difficult.

We use "women" as an expansive term inclusive of both transgender and cisgender women. Our program is also open to non-binary individuals who wish to participate.

Why cash?

Income stability is a precondition for economic mobility. With evidence from over 300 studies, direct cash assistance is one of the most promising interventions to stabilize incomes. Dr. King referred to guaranteed income as the “simplest approach” to address poverty. Guaranteed income is unconditional cash assistance for those in need.

Existing social safety nets often make it difficult for individuals to obtain assistance. Strict eligibility criteria, indirect or insufficient aid, and bureaucratic obstacles make it difficult for families to get support that meets their needs when they need it most. These systems are also exclusionary by design, requiring individuals to jump through hoops to prove they are worthy of assistance. The stakes are particularly high for marginalized communities, due to the dominant narrative that poverty is a consequence of individual choices rather than structural barriers.

We are disrupting “business as usual” by promoting assistance that is direct, flexible, dignified, and specifically focused on improving the financial health of Black women. We expect program recipients will be able to spend more on health costs for themselves and their families, pay down debt, and reduce caretaking burdens and trade offs, which will in turn allow them to build income stability and economic security.

Will you be providing financial and literacy training alongside cash?

Conversations with community experts did not identify financial literacy as a core challenge among our prospective recipients. On the whole, Black women reported knowing how to budget and make sound financial decisions for their families. However, many struggle to save money and build wealth on a month-to-month basis because of the instability, insufficiency, and volatility of their income.

It doesn’t matter how well you can budget when your income consistently lags behind the cost of providing for basic needs for yourself and your family. Community members identified recurring cash relief as a key tool to get them “off the hamster wheel” of persistent debt.

How will you know how the money gets spent?

Direct, no-strings-attached cash allows individuals and families to invest in what they need - from providing for basic needs, to keeping a roof over their heads, to paying for medical care, to investing in their family and future - and maintain agency over their lives while doing so.

What do you expect to learn from this project?

Community-based organizations, policy advocates, and government leaders across the U.S. and other countries are increasingly pointing to guaranteed income as a policy that can make a significant impact in people’s lives. We hope to add to this conversation by studying how guaranteed income can particularly benefit Black women -- a population in Georgia that has historically faced disproportionate structural barriers at the intersection of both gender and racial wealth gaps.

The evaluation component of this project will be led by Dr. Leah Hamilton at Appalachian State University and is specifically designed to help us understand the mechanisms by which cash can improve women’s lives and wellbeing.

How were communities involved in the design of this project?

The GRO Fund model has been developed in coalition with community members, through a 28-member task force, community survey, and listening sessions with local residents in each of the project locations. Members of the community helped to determine key aspects of program design, from the duration to the cash transfer schedule.

What is the difference between a Universal Basic Income and a Guaranteed Income?

A universal basic income (UBI) is regular cash assistance given to an entire population that provides for a subsistence level of money. For example, GiveDirectly’s UBI study in Kenya provides entire rural villages with monthly payments of ~$25. A guaranteed income is regular cash assistance that is not universal, but targeted at a particular demographic or income level, like this project. Although we are aiming to support a large number of families with significant income stabilization, we also recognize our cash disbursements may not be large enough to fully cover every family’s basic needs.

What is the significance of the name In Her Hands?

Martin Luther King Jr. said of Guaranteed Income in 1967, “the dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions concerning his life are in his own hands.” Cash in the hands of women means great economic stability for individuals, families, and communities. It means greater agency over her future is in her hands. A black woman often holds much of the financial responsibility of her household in her hands. This program puts funds directly in her hands. And these funds mean her future and her choices are finally in her hands.

The In Her Hands initiative builds on the work of many guaranteed income programs from across the country. Principally, the task force and community members were inspired by the work of Magnolia Mother's Trust run by Springboard to Opportunities, which is the longest-running guaranteed income program in the U.S. and also focuses on Black women.