A Look Back on 2023

by Lizzy Romanes

As the first month of 2024 comes to a close, Impact Charitable is pleased to share some of our Economic Mobility team’s significant achievements over the past year. In 2023, we successfully implemented several direct cash and basic income programs to provide essential relief for marginalized communities, thereby creating a foundation for long-term stability.

Impact Charitable continued to make significant growth in how it works to address economic challenges faced by different communities in Colorado by offering direct financial assistance without strict conditions, allowing individuals and families to use the funds according to their needs and priorities. This approach centers on individual autonomy and acknowledges that recipients are best positioned to understand their needs.

These programs reached disproportionately impacted populations who often face systemic barriers to economic mobility. Undocumented workers, those experiencing homelessness, low-wage earning families, and communities of color are examples of communities we served over 2023. Ensuring these groups have access to basic income programs is crucial for broader economic inclusion and help build thriving communities.

Impact Charitable 2023 Programs and Impact:

Denver Basic Income Project is a $7.5 million program providing unconditional cash transfers to 839 unhoused adults living in Denver over one year. The program aims to test the impact of guaranteed income on individuals experiencing homelessness and is the largest basic income program serving this population in the country. Participants are divided into three groups with varying payment schemes, with one group receiving a larger lump sum upfront, followed by smaller monthly payments, a second receiving $1000 per month, and a third control group receiving $50 per month. According to the interim DBIP Quantitative Report, six months after the program launch:

  • Fewer participants reported sleeping outside and utilizing public health services (i.e. emergency room visits)
  • All three payment groups showed an increase in the percentage of participants staying in their own home or apartment at the six-month follow-up
  • Participants in all three payment groups show significant improvement in financial well-being, and more participants from the larger payment groups report having full-time jobs 

As the program comes to a close in 2024, the Denver Basic Income Project is set to spin off from Impact Charitable into its own independent 501c3. It has already secured expansion through an additional commitment of $5 million from supporters across Colorado, including $2 million from the City of Denver.

Basic Cash Assistance for Household Program is a $2.5 million direct cash payment program that helps Denver families facing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic who were excluded from federally funded aid. The program offers a one-time cash payment of up to $1,500 per household. This program launched in late 2023, amidst a growing humanitarian crisis for our migrant communities and is set to run through 2024. Since the program launched in late 2023:

  • Over $863,500 has been distributed to nearly 650 Denver Households 
  • Participants reported needing the funds to cover basic necessities, such as  rent/mortgage (31%), food (24%), and utilities (21%)
  • 10 Denver-based community organization partners are delivering funds and providing other support 

Healthy Beginnings Project is a pilot program designed to provide pregnant individuals in Denver, Montezuma, or Dolores Counties with a  guaranteed income starting in their third trimester through the first year of their baby’s life. Selected participants will receive $375 twice per month for 15 months. This is the country’s first-ever guaranteed income supported by a private corporation, pioneering new ways our corporate and private sector partners can enable economic mobility in our communities. Since launching in November 2023: 

  • The program has enrolled a diverse cohort, with over half of participants residing in rural communities and over 70% identifying as people of color
  • The first payments have been distributed; each enrolled participant has received three payments thus far and will continue to receive payments until February 2025.
  • 100% of participants opted into the optional research study, a signal of the strong trust built with participants during the enrollment and application phase of the work. The evaluation is being led by Income Movement, a national leader in the movement for a basic income. 

Elevate Boulder is the City of Boulder’s $2.4 million guaranteed income pilot project which provides 200 low-income households with $500 monthly for two years. During 2023, Impact Charitable partnered with the City of Boulder to launch a community-informed design process, co-creating the program with directly impacted community members. Applications officially opened in November 2023, and 200 individuals were randomly selected in December 2023. Of those who applied to the program: 

  • Nearly 60% identified as people of color, with 29% of applicants preferring a language other than English.
  • 25% of applicants reported having a disability
  • 68% of applicants identified as women.
  • The first payments will be distributed in January 2024 and run through 2026. 

Benefit Recovery Fund is the nation’s first unemployment assistance program aimed at undocumented W-2 workers. In partnership with the Office of New Americans and AidKit, the program administrator, Impact Charitable worked in 2023 to engage community organizations and leaders to design a  state-wide outreach campaign. 

  • The program will launch in 2024, providing a blueprint for how the nation can expand access to unemployment assistance to previously excluded communities.
  • An inaugural class of outreach and navigation partners were onboarded in December 2023 and began preparations for the 2024 launch
  • Over 65 organizations engaged were in 2023, helping to provide pathways across the State for undocumented workers to access this critical support 

Thriving Providers Project is an 18-month program providing wage supplementation in the form of guaranteed income to family, friend, and neighbor child care providers in Colorado. Providers enrolled in the program have access to culturally responsive and language-accessible mental health services, peer support, and resource navigation. The program launched in 2022, and providers received monthly payments and wrap-around support throughout 2023. Early evidence from the program evaluation, led by Stanford University’s RAPID-EC team, indicates: 

  • Thriving Providers Project participants’ income volatility has decreased more steadily and consistently than a comparator group
  • Participants experienced increasingly more stability in their hours worked, enabling them to offer more predictable and available child care to families in their community
  • Participants reported feeling more comfortable engaging with the community-based organizations that enrolled them as a result of the initiative, an important precursor to providers’ connections to additional workforce resources and a larger infrastructure of professional support
  • Qualitative data also revealed that many participants spent their money on supplies, educational and food-related, for the children in their care, and that responsive caregiving practices associated with higher-quality care improved 

Build with Families is a direct cash program to support the economic well-being of low-wage-earning families in Denver. In partnership with Gary Community Ventures, the program provides $199 per month as a supplement to families’ other sources of income.  Impact Charitable supported this program throughout 2023, helping families more easily afford basic needs like food, rent, utilities, and other critical supports. 

Bolivar High School Success Program is a one-time direct cash program that provided 213 first-generation graduating seniors with $500 to help support their transition into higher education and other vocational training programs. This transitional cash assistance program was based out of Missouri, and was offered alongside more comprehensive supportive services to put first-gen students on pathways towards long-term mobility and educational attainment. 

Looking to 2024, our goal is to further expand our reach in the economic mobility sector. We are excited to introduce new initiatives that can put families and individuals on the pathway towards long-term financial stability, resiliency, and wealth-building and fundamentally change the trajectory of families in poverty over generations.


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