Direct Investment Program in Sacramento

Four adults of color, two men and two women appearing

The Direct Investment Program in Sacramento (DIPS) is part of a nationwide trend examining Guaranteed Income. DIPS seeks to create the conditions for real financial freedom, the sort of which is too often denied to communities that are historically undervalued and underinvested in.  

Starting June 1 2021, 100 families in Sacramento County are receiving $300 of unconditional income every month for 24 months. 

Currently, the first cohort of DIPS is full. We are working with the City to expand the program to another 100 participants.

If you have questions about the program, please contact Cameron Collins at Cameron.Collins@uwccr.org. If you are interested in participating in the program, please fill out this webform.


Investing in Sacramento Families

Scissors cutting dotted line. Text: Guaranteed income

About Our Partner

UpTogether logo Our experienced partner, UpTogether, champions a nationwide movement where every person is recognized for their strengths and has what they need to thrive.  We share UpTogether’s approach to trusting families to lead their own change.     

 Its two-decade record of success across dozens of cities most recently includes Oakland’s guaranteed income demonstration called Oakland Resilient Families.  

Results from UpTogether efforts in the past have included increased monthly incomes of over 20%, increases of 100%+ in both monthly and long-term savings. See how investing directly in people has huge returns here.


DIPS Details

Social Justice Investing

Social Justice Investments are a key part of UWCCR’s strategy to fight poverty in the region. Social Justice Investment initiatives like DIPS focus on using UWCCR’s access to financial capital to redress historical inequities in our region.  

“Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.” – James Baldwin

Rather than mandating social workers, conditional services or specific direction, DIPS creates an environment where families come together, empower themselves and are trusted to improve their lives in their own way. 

The Process

The Direct Investment Program in Sacramento (DIPS) is a guaranteed income program of 100 Sacramento County households receiving $300/month for two years. United Way California Capital Region partners with UpTogether to make this possible, but many other organizations and individuals helped make DIPS a reality. 

UWCCR contacted many other non-profits, community-based organizations, and public agencies to spread the word about DIPS. After a series of online, public information sessions, our partner organizations encouraged applications from Sacramento residents making up to 150% of the California Poverty Measure for their household size.  

UpTogether received hundreds of applications in the two-week open enrollment period. After verifying eligibility, UpTogether selected 100 qualifying applications through a randomized lottery to receive funds. 

The Economic Context

There is no time like the present for direct, unconditional and guaranteed investment in our communities. After more than a year of social isolation, spiking unemployment and financial precarity, uncertainty persists in the form of expiring eviction moratoriums, ending enhanced unemployment insurance and persistent unemployment. Even before the pandemic, a majority of Americans could not afford an unexpected $400 expense in cash.  

The Sacramento median rental apartment costs about double what would be affordable on an individual’s median income. Over the last half decade and through the pandemic, Sacramento has continued to see some of the highest increases in housing cost nationwide. According to a study by the United Ways of California, 29% of Sacramento County households make less than the “Real Cost Measure.” Households in that range spend 2-4 times more of their income on housing than households above the Real Cost Measure. These sustained and growing problems are more than just byproducts of past recessions, but central features of an inequitable economic system.

$300 every month will not end this inequity on its own. It could, however, replace a part time job or gig. It could mean more time with children, with family, and with spouses. It could mean less stress or anxiety. It does provide some measure of certainty and dignity to hardworking families.  

Brief History of Guaranteed Income

Guaranteed Income has gained significant national attention in the last few years, but organized efforts to address growing economic inequality through guaranteed income have existed at least as far back as the 1960s Civil Rights movements. During the formation of the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO) in 1966, many of the Black women founders, including chairperson Johnnie Tillmoncalled for a guaranteed income.

The NWRO saw that conditional aid (e.g., benefits with work requirements) biased welfare systems against single parents, unemployed and working poor, childless couples and single adults. Similarly, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called for a robust guaranteed income to bring all Americans to the median income in his 1967 book “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?”   

“The contemporary tendency in our society is to base our distribution on scarcity, which has vanished, and to compress our abundance into the overfed mouths of the middle and upper classes until they gag with superfluity. If democracy is to have breadth of meaning, it is necessary to adjust this inequity. It is not only moral, but it is also intelligent. We are wasting and degrading human life by clinging to archaic thinking.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, From the Conclusion to Chapter V “Where We Are Going”

These calls, particularly those from the NWRO, were not simply pie-in-the-sky idealism, but rather a specific solution to address the growing gaps in a rapidly expanding welfare system. Often, these gaps were explained away with the demonizing, racist logic of white supremacy and social darwinism. Today, policymakers, public commentators and economic “experts” too often use these logics to deride undervalued communities as deserving of the conditions of poverty and dismiss unconditional aid as a handout that discourages work. These conclusions have always had scant evidence. 

As guaranteed income demonstrations continue to build evidence that unconditional, direct investments are a key component of building a more equitable and just economic system, it is worth remembering the origin of these ideas as key Civil Rights issues.