Mayor Aja Brown and the Compton Pledge announced the successful enrollment of 800 families in Compton’s guaranteed income pilot program, making it the largest city-based guaranteed income initiative in United States history.
Launched in December 2020 with the support and administration of the Fund for Guaranteed Income (F4GI) and the Compton Community Development Corporation (CCDC), the Compton Pledge has already disbursed $1 million to support over 1770 recipients, including dependents. A total of $9.1 million will be distributed in recurring payments over the next two years.
The community-led pilot uses a custom, web-based payments platform to enhance the economic security and self-determination of historically marginalized groups, including undocumented and formerly incarcerated residents. The program is the first to offer a tailored set of payment options and allow participants to switch between them. To date, 50% chose Direct Deposit, 9% chose Venmo, 8% chose PayPal and 33% chose prepaid card.
“There can be no peace without understanding identity, operating in purpose, and the inalienable right of human dignity. I want residents to be empowered by the greatness from where they came,” said Aja Brown, Mayor of Compton.
“Economic empowerment and equity are essential to community wellness and uplift. These vital investments disrupt generational poverty experienced by many families and children,” said Sharoni Little, Compton Pledge Community Advisory Council member and CEO of the Strategist Group.
The Compton Pledge is supported by a Community Advisory Council as well as national advocacy groups including Black Lives Matter, One Fair Wage, CHIRLA, Essie Justice Group, A New Way of Life, and the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls.
“The day I received my first payment, there was much-needed medication I was unable to pay for before. Compton has been my city for 30 plus years. I love it and the people in it,” said Tiffany, a participant in the program.
“COVID-19 hit this community really hard. After losing my job, the Compton Pledge let me pay for my electricity and internet bills, or buy shoes for my two little ones,” said Ireri, who is a member of the Voices of Compton Pledge storytelling initiative.
“As an artist, this is helping me move forwards in faith that I can be a strong business man. The Compton Pledge is helping me to breathe easier,” said De’Shawn, another member of Voices of Compton Pledge.
The Jain Family Institute (JFI), an applied research organization with international expertise in guaranteed income design and evaluation, is serving as a design and implementation partner.
The pilot is philanthropically funded from private donors and recently received a $200,000 grant from Amazon Foundation and Amazon Studios Foundation. “Not only is the Compton Pledge performing vital services as the community recovers, but in the long term it is breaking down barriers to opportunity and creating new narratives to foster equity and justice,” said Cameron Onumah, Amazon’s Public Policy Manager for Southern California.
To follow the progress of the Compton Pledge, a two-year program delivering recurring cash relief to low-income residents, go tocomptonpledge.org and select “sign up for news” or follow Compton Pledge on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. To make a tax-deductible donation to the Compton Pledge, led by the nonprofit Fund for Guaranteed Income, go to comptonpledge.org/donate.