Dec 8, 2020 - Economy

Twitter's Dorsey gives $15 million for guaranteed income projects in U.S. cities

Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Billionaire Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has donated $15 million to help fund guaranteed income projects across the U.S., Mayors for a Guaranteed Income announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters via Axios' Jennifer A. Kingson: Dorsey's move — coupled with the news that Miami residents are waiting in line for hours for $250 grocery vouchers — highlights the dire financial needs among urban dwellers that have sent mayors across the country lobbying Congress for more federal aid during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The donation also comes as dozens of cities ramp up "their efforts to send monthly assistance checks to some of their residents, expanding a nationwide experiment to see if concepts such as 'universal basic income' can help local families weather the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression," the Washington Post notes.

The big picture: MGI was founded earlier this year to "to advocate for a guaranteed income — direct, recurring cash payments..." About 30 mayors have signed on.

What they're saying: "We are a nation in crisis and the last one of this scale yielded dramatic social reform; this is our New Deal moment," said Michael Tubbs, mayor of Stockton, California and MGI's founder.

  • "We need a social safety net that goes beyond conditional benefits tied to employment, works for everyone and begins to address the call for racial and economic justice through guaranteed income," Tubbs added.
  • "If [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell] won’t act, Mayors will to provide a floor for our constituents and push for federal policy. We need a guaranteed income," he tweeted.
  • Steve Benjamin, mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, said the money will help provide 100 residents with $500 per month for 24 months.
  • Melvin Carter, mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota, said the grant will help his city provide 150 families with $500 a month for 18 months.
  • Victoria Woodards, mayor of Tacoma, Washington, said the grant will help accelerate the city’s efforts to launch a guaranteed income pilot program.

Dorsey on Twitter thanked the MGI mayors "for these universal basic income pilots," and added, "I hope they inform federal policy in the future."

🎧 Go deeper: Andrew Yang on making stimulus permanent

Go deeper