Madison Forward Fund sends out first checks for Madison’s guaranteed income pilot program


    The Madison Forward Fund has distributed the first of 12 monthly payments to 155 low-income families, the City of Madison announced on Wednesday.

    The fund is a year-long guaranteed income experimental program. The guaranteed income is a monthly payment of $500 given directly to 155 households who were randomly selected from an applicant pool to receive the monthly payments.

    “Having a guaranteed income could open up so many doors for people who are facing turbulent times,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway in a statement. “My hope is that a growing group of mayors will lead the way on educating people about the concept, and engage in pilot programs to demonstrate that households really do make wise choices and are best positioned to navigate their way out of poverty.”

    The guaranteed income program comes with “no strings attached,” meaning that participants can spend the money they receive on whatever they need and whenever they need it. The program is founded on the belief that Madison families deserve a basic level of income to support fundamental needs, and that people experiencing financial scarcity are best positioned to make decisions regarding their household needs.

    The $930,000 in direct cash assistance provided to Madison families will be funded entirely by generous private donors and no taxpayer dollars, the City said.