Madison raises $300K more for guaranteed income test program

The city now has nearly $1 million for the initiative
High Dynamic Range (HDR) image of Madison, Wisconsin skyline and state capitol
High Dynamic Range (HDR) image of Madison, Wisconsin skyline and state capitol(NBC15)
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 9:35 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The budget for a pilot program to provide a guaranteed base income to some Madison residents has reached nearly one million dollars following the contribution of more than a quarter-million dollars by several local businesses and foundations.

On Monday, the City of Madison announced the seven donors have contributed $300,000 to the Guaranteed Pilot Program, which officials explain is meant to support families and fight poverty. They added the initiative is part of a growing call to combat poverty nationwide by offering direct payments to those in need.

“I would like to thank the generous donors who are willing to work with the City of Madison to innovate on a guaranteed income project that will lift up Madison families and provide proof of concept for a national program,” Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said in statement announcing the donations.

The new program began in December after the city was chosen to be part of second group running these basic income tests. Seven cities currently have test programs up and running while Madison is part of a group of 14 cities ramping up their efforts.

The city’s role stems from Rhodes-Conway’s participation in the Mayors for Guaranteed Income initiative, which includes the Madison mayor and 43 other leaders of their cities. The organization is helping fund Madison’s program, as is a donation from Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey.

According to the city, most of the money raised so far will go directly to recipients. It has not indicated how many people will be eligible for the funds nor how much they stand to get. The city made note that the application period has not started yet.

A spokesperson for one of the donating agencies, UW Health, said the health system believes income stability has a direct impact on health. “We are excited to partner with the City through our financial support of this pilot and look forward to see what it reveals about how people’s lives improve, including their health status,” Communications Relations Director Juli Aulik said.

The list of donors thanked by the city Monday is:

  • UW Health
  • CUNA Mutual Group
  • Dan and Patti Rashke Family Foundation
  • American Family Insurance
  • Alliant Energy Foundation
  • Give Back Foundation
  • TASC

In addition to the financial pledges, the Give Back Foundation and TASC have pledged in-kind services to support the program. CEO Dan Raske said his company is excited to be on the ground floor of the initiative.

“This opportunity with Mayors for a Guaranteed Income speaks to the core of TASC’s mission: ‘Improving the health, wealth & well-being of our customers, employees and community.’”

The City Council has also approved a Guaranteed Income Task Force which will study how the local test can work with national partners as well.

clarification: A seventh donor organization, TASC, was added after this story was published following an update from the city with its name included.

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