Impact Charitable teams up with the City of Boulder to ‘Elevate Boulder’

by Alistair Scott

Post by Alistair Scott, Program Manager at Impact Charitable

Through the new Elevate Boulder Guaranteed Income pilot project, 200 Boulder households that meet income eligibility will receive $500 per month for two years.

Boulder has long been recognized as a progressive city, interested in supporting all of its residents across the income spectrum. As part of the City of Boulder’s ongoing efforts to supplement existing city investments and services to advance affordability, inclusivity, and economic mobility, City staff began tracking the Stockton, CA guaranteed income pilot beginning in 2019. In 2020 staff members attended a national ‘What Works Cities’ workshop which inspired thinking about a possible Boulder pilot project utilizing guaranteed income. They obtained input from local nonprofit agencies about the concept, and in 2021 proposed using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for a pilot.

Enter Impact Charitable

As a recognized leader in the design, development, and deployment of direct cash assistance programs, Impact Charitable was selected in December of 2022 as the project management consultant for a $3 million pilot program.

The pilot project goals, which are adapted from the Theory of Impact emerging from design work led by us, are also In alignment with the City of Boulder Health and Human Services mission and ARPA objectives. They are to: 

(1) help low-income community residents achieve longer-lasting financial stability and security, through temporary monthly cash payments with no strings attached,

(2) supplement existing human services and social services assistance,

(3) provide a use-case where the government reduces barriers or conditions for financial assistance and community members feel more accepted, and trust the government to respond equitably.

Throughout this year, Impact Charitable has guided and supported the City of Boulder team on the entire program design, and a range of pre-launch activities and processes to get the Guaranteed Income Pilot Program, now dubbed Elevate Boulder, off the ground. We have been a trusted partner on all major program design decisions, while adding expertise and capacity alongside the City of Boulder staff, connecting them to external resources as needed. 

Equally, the Impact Charitable team sought to actively center the value and expertise of the very people the pilot should benefit through our work with the Community Task Force. Thus while we put together actionable research, prepared meticulously for engagements, and have made many recommendations, we would not be true to the aims of this program or our own values if we did not emphasize that we listened to and incorporated viewpoints from stakeholders to an equal extent. 

At the final task force presentation that confirmed the design and structure, including support from the community-led task force, the Mayor of Boulder and the City Controller were present to engage directly with task force members. Community input will continue through several working groups that include evaluation, customer service, communications, and user testing. These will provide an opportunity to continue to receive stakeholder input. 

The City of Boulder, including Impact Charitable and OMNI Institute, and an application and payments provider to be named shortly, will manage an application process, distribute funds, gather and share data and stories about the project impacts, and evaluate how the project has advanced financial stability and results. Program launch is this fall with the first payments set to go out in November 2023. 


About the author

A lifelong development generalist, Pan African educator, and coach, Alistair is passionate about applying a systems and sustainability lens to rethinking how we organize thriving economies and societies. His career has spanned community development, tourism, workforce development, sales, and education across the U.S. and the Caribbean. Before coming to Impact Charitable, he led the build out of Project Basta’s Alumni Success workstream.

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