Mothers' Trusts


I read an interesting article today. It talks about a "Mothers' Trust," where a charitable organization is attempting to tackle the persistence of poverty, especially in the most vulnerable families. I'll let the article speak to what a mothers' trust is:

"A minimum-wage job simply does not provide enough income to support a family, and the system for obtaining supplementary benefits is stressful, dehumanizing, and time-consuming. Our mission at Springboard is to help families reach their goals in life, work, and school, but often our families are so busy trying to survive that they do not have time to set those goals.

"In the fall of 2018, Springboard To Opportunities announced The Magnolia Mother’s Trust, an new initiative that provides low-income, Black mothers in Jackson, Mississippi $1,000 cash on a monthly basis, no strings attached, for 12 months straight. While there have been several initiatives for a guaranteed income worldwide, this is the first that specifically targets extremely low-income families headed by an African-American female living in affordable housing in the United States.

"The initial pilot program consisted of 20 women and ran from December 2018-November 2019. The second cohort of The Magnolia Mother’s Trust began in March 2020 and grew to serve 110 women. This cohort wrapped up in February 2021 and the final evaluation report is available for downloading."

I looked into the evaluation report, and there were some pretty impressive stats there:

"The ability of mothers to pay all their bills on time increased from 27% to 83%. While prior to the start of the program, mothers reported relying heavily on borrowing from friends, families, and emergency lending institutions to make ends meet, receiving the monthly stipend allowed women to stop relying on borrowing as a way to manage their monthly budgets and proved to be particularly crucial in light of higher bills and expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, more mothers reported having money saved for college and retirement by the end of the program."

"The percentage of mothers who had money saved for emergencies increased from 40% to 88%. While low-wage jobs had always left mothers with barely enough to cover bills and basic needs in the past, the additional stipend provided an opportunity to start saving in preparation for their family’s future and for their own goals including starting their own businesses, moving out of affordable housing, and paying off debt."

"Mothers reported an increase from 64% to 81% in their ability to have enough money for food. This is particularly significant given rising food costs for families during the COVID-19 pandemic and children eating more meals at home. Additionally, there was an increase in mothers reporting that there was always enough food for all members of the household and being able to prepare food at home versus fast food. During the program, mothers reported being able to budget up to $150 more for food and household costs resulting in lowered food insecurity and struggles with basic needs."

"The number of mothers reporting they always had gas in their car when they needed it increased from 55% to 82% and those who had car insurance coverage increased from 50% to 86%. Furthermore, the percentage of participants with a vehicle also increased from 75% to 88%. The percentage of mothers able to purchase new clothes and shoes for their children on a regular basis went from 63% to 84%, and the number of mothers who had life insurance coverage increased from 50% to 87% suggesting mothers had the capacity to prioritize the long term care and well-being of their children."

It's often been said that men prosper under capitalism, but mothers and chldren prosper under socialism. That is, mothers with children often cannot compete as successfully in the capitalist marketplace as unencumbered males can. And yet the future lies with the children. Ensuring a basic income for poor mothers and children, albeit only for one calendar year, seems like an incredibly important way to positively affect the future of our nation. I wonder if this concept could be adapted somehow by the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The idea of a "Mothers' Trust" just seems so fitting for the purposes of that organization. It might even be adopted at the local level by the Relief Society of a ward, to help specific sisters in the ward.