In the fall of 2018, Springboard To Opportunities announced The Magnolia Mother’s Trust, a new initiative that provides low-income, Black mothers in Jackson, Mississippi $1,000 cash on a monthly basis, no strings attached, for 12 months straight. While there have been several initiatives for a guaranteed income worldwide, this is the first that specifically targets extremely low-income families headed by a Black female living in affordable housing in the United States.
The initial pilot program consisted of 20 women and ran from December 2018-November 2019. The second, third, and fourth cohorts of The Magnolia Mother’s Trust have all consisted of approximately 100 mothers in each cohort. The 3rd cohort began in March 2022 and included a more extensive evaluation that went beyond just proving that cash works to building a movement that is centered on dignity and deservedness for all, starting with Black women.
Most recently, the 4th cohort of The Magnolia Mother’s Trust concluded in April 2023. The evaluation for this cohort recognized Springboard To Opportunities’ expertise and leadership within the broader cash-without-restrictions field and sought to understand what makes The Magnolia Mother’s Trust unique and effective within the guaranteed income community. Additionally, it looked more closely at the pervasive systemic and policy barriers that prevent guaranteed income participants from being able to take full advantage of the benefits of a program like The Magnolia Mother’s Trust. The evaluation concludes with community-driven policy recommendations to strengthen both government programs and other cash-without-restrictions initiatives across the country.
Additionally, in early 2023, we released an MMT Alumni Study, the first study in the recent cash-without-restrictions movement to look at this many past cohorts and the first to take a 2-Generation approach, including both mothers and children in the study. Even after the cash benefits of the program had ended, we found that MMT had a lasting positive impact on parenting efficacy, parent-child relationships, and children’s mental health.
While the structure of the program remains the same, we are continuing to elevate the stories of our families, which we know is vital to creating inclusive policy and practices that not only honor families’ experiences, but actually have the power to move the needle forward on breaking cycles of poverty and creating a more just and equitable society for all people. Through fellowships, storytelling labs, and policy and media partnerships, we are working to support mothers as they develop tools and skills to share their stories with policymakers and community leaders including a collaboration with Ms. Magazine called Front & Center, providing moms with a platform for sharing their stories with a wider audience.