City Council to Consider Mayor Peduto's Groundbreaking Assured Cash Experiment (Ace) PGH Initiative to Address Poverty and Inequity

PITTSBURGH, PA (September 8, 2021) City Council will consider Mayor William Peduto's plans for the Assured Cash Experiment PGH (AcePGH), a guaranteed basic income pilot to combat poverty and inequity that will provide an unrestricted $500 monthly cash transfer to 200 people in the City of Pittsburgh. One hundred of the participants will be Black women in response to inequities that Black women face in Pittsburgh, as clearly defined in the 2019 Gender Equity Commission report Pittsburgh’s Inequality Across Gender and Race.  

According to the report, Black women and children are more likely to live in poverty in Pittsburgh than comparable cities. Pittsburgh’s Black women are five times as likely as white men to live in poverty and twice as likely than white women. In response to this, the Office of Mayor Peduto has designed a guaranteed basic income policy to address the poverty inequitably faced by Black women in our communities at the recommendation of the Gender Equity Commission report.  

Guaranteed basic income was championed by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King who said that poverty could be eradicated by providing every American a direct, guaranteed middle-class income. He argued that that other programs to address poverty were less effective in that they seek to address one root cause at a time, writing “the programs of the past all have another common failing – they are indirect. Each seeks to solve poverty by first solving something else.” 

Last summer, Mayor Peduto joined Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), a forward-thinking network of mayors from around the country started by Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton, California. Following Dr. King’s philosophy, they advocate providing direct, unrestricted recurring cash payments to residents to give them a boost and an income floor that lifts up families who have been struggling long before the pandemic.  

The City of Pittsburgh will join cities nationwide in utilizing relief funds from the American Rescue Plan to fund part of the program through OnePGH, a nonprofit organization that is supported by public and private investment to allow for the collaboration of local government, business, philanthropy and nonprofits to improve the lives of all Pittsburghers. The program will also be funded through grants from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and MGI.  

This table outlines how some other cities are defining and funding their pilot programs: 


ARPA Funds? 

Implementing partner 

Pilot details 

Comments / Source link 

Minneapolis, MN 

Yes - $3,000,000 

TBD external partner 

200 participants, $500/mo, 24 months, <50% city median income, priority to housing insecurity 

“The Program Administrator would be an external partner. The Referral Partners could be a combination of internal and external partners providing housing stability and job training/placement services.” 

Alexandria, VA 

Yes – $3,000,000 

ACT for Alexandria 

150 participants, $500/mo, 24 months, 


Long Beach, CA 

Yes - $2,000,000 

TBD non-profit administrator 

500 participants, $500/mo, 12 months, Single-parent HH below poverty line in 90813 zip code 

“3rd Party Administrator: All guaranteed income programs studied by the Working Group were administered by a 3rd party nonprofit administrator responsible for participant support, payment processing, reporting, and other activities.”  

Also providing free childcare, transportation support, and workforce training 

Evanston, IL 

Yes - $700,000 

Northwestern Good Neighbor Racial Equity Fund 

165 participants, $500/mo, 12 months, 

Disengaged youths (18-24), senior citizens & undocumented residents  

Austin, TX 

No –  

$1,138,000 City (funding source: revised sales tax projections) & $1,138,000 Private 

UpTogether (formerly FII) 


Current: 125 participants, $1,000/mo, 12 months 

Expanded: TBD -> likely 100 participants, $1,000/mo, 12 months, 

most vulnerable residents 

There is a privately-funded pilot currently being run by UpTogether. On 8/11/21, Austin City Council approved additional city funding to expand that pilot, program details TBD. 

Richmond, VA 

Richmond Resilience Initiative 

CARES Act ($240,000) & philanthropic 

Family Independence Initiative (UpTogether) 

18 participants, $500/mo, 24 months 


* extending to 37 more families 

Cook County, IL 


Family Independence Initiative (UpTogether) 

$600 one-time payments to 10,000 residents 

One-time payment 

Santa Fe, NM 


Santa Fe Community College Foundation 

100 participants, $400/mo, 12 months 

Santa Fe Community College students who are parents, have financial stress 

Durham, NC 

No – but does use City funding 

StepUp Durham 

115 participants, $500/mo, 12 months, 

Formerly incarcerated individuals 

Stockton, CA – SEED 


Economic Security Project 

$500/month, 24 months 

Tacoma, WA 

GRIT Demonstration 


United Way Pierce County 

110 participants, $500/mo, 12 months, 


Denver, CO 

Denver Basic Income Project 


Impact Charitable, hosting Denver Basic Income Fund 

260 receive $6,500 up front+$500/mo for 11 months; 260 receive $1,000/mo for 12 months 

Homeless individuals 

Compton, CA 

Compton Pledge 


Fund 4 Guaranteed Income; Jain Family Institute 

800 families, $300-600/mo, 2 years 


Cambridge, MA 

Cambridge RISE (Recurring Income for Success and Empowerment) 


Cambridge Community Foundation 

130 participants, $500/mo, 18 months 

Single caretaker households <80% AMI 

San Diego, CA 

Resilient Communities for Every Child 


San Diego for Every Child 

150 families, $500/mo, 24 months, target ZIP codes with high rates of child poverty 

Columbia, SC 

Columbia Life Improvement Monetary Boost (CLIMB) 


Central Carolina Community Foundation 

100 participants, $500/mo, 12 months 

Fathers involved in Midlands Fatherhood Coalition 

Oakland, CA 


UpTogether (previously Family Independence Initiative) 

 300 participants east Oakland (+300 citywide phase 2), $500/mo, 18 months 

Income <50% AMI, at least one child, prioritize BIPOC,of%20300%20in%20East%20Oakland

Madison, WI 


Give Back Foundation; TASC 

TBD: likely 125 participants, $500/mo, 12 months, families w/children but “relatively broad” 

Providence, RI 

Providence GI Pilot 


Amos House 

110 participants, $500/mo, 12 months, 

<200% poverty level 

AcePGH will be a pilot program that will be measured and studied with the assistance of MGI and the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice’s Center for Guaranteed Income Research. The 200 participants must be 18 of older and will be recruited in two groups:  

  1. 100 Black women who live in the City of Pittsburgh and earn at or below 50% of the area median income who participate in Pittsburgh Financial Empowerment Centers, an initiative of Mayor Peduto’s Office of Equity 

  1. 100 City of Pittsburgh residents randomly selected from five disadvantaged zip codes citywide  

Participants will receive a monthly payment of $500 on a debit card to spend on what they or their families need for 24 months. Findings from other pilots show participants most frequently use cash to meet their basic needs like food, merchandise/wholesale and utilities.  


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Molly Onufer
Communications Director
Mayor's Office