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Madison’s guaranteed income pilot program is funded entirely by private donations, not taxpayers, according to the city’s website.

The program’s donors include UW Health, Madison Gas & Electric Foundation and Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, a network of mayors advocating for the policy.

The $930,000 Madison Forward Fund began distributing $500 monthly payments to 155 families in September chosen randomly from nearly 3,000 families who applied.

Research centers at the Universities of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Pennsylvania will survey participants after the 12-month pilot concludes to gauge the impact of a guaranteed income.

Other pilot programs have found that participants spend the payments on basic needs like food and transportation.

Wausau passed a resolution supporting a program in 2021, but the city has not yet started a pilot.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said he was open to the idea, but said the city could currently not afford it.


City of Madison: Madison Forward Fund Providing Direct Assistance to Low-Income Pilot Program Recipients

Mayors for a Guaranteed Income: About

Madison Forward Fund: Madison Forward Fund

The Cap Times: Madison Forward Fund provides direct assistance to low-income families

Wausau, Wisconsin: Finance Committee Minutes

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Mayor Cavalier Johnson is open to the idea of guaranteed income, but says the city can’t afford it right now

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Hope Karnopp joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in May 2022. She is a journalism major and is pursuing certificates in public policy and environmental studies at UW-Madison. Hope previously covered state politics as an intern for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She also works with the Daily Cardinal and hosts a radio segment about campus news for WORT-FM, which has been recognized by the Milwaukee Press Club.