Family Independence Initiative
2018 Annual Report
A summary of our work, findings, and engagement with families who are on a path to mobility across the United States.
We believe low-income families should be seen as valuable members of and contributors to our society. We believe they should be recognized for their many strengths rather than for the perceived weaknesses society erroneously assigns to them.
As a country, we have underestimated the ability of low-income families to improve their financial and general well-being. Over $400 billion in government and philanthropic dollars is invested in programs and policies directed towards low-income families. Yet, these same programs and policies undermine their initiative and penalize them for their efforts to save money, build businesses, and invest in themselves by cutting off benefits if they manage to create even the smallest financial cushion.
Family Independence Initiative (FII) has been advancing a movement towards economic and social mobility for low-income families by investing directly in their initiative. We believe that unrestricted cash transfers offer families choice and control over their lives and there is strong value in the social connection and mutuality that exists in these communities. Through our technology and community building platform, UpTogether, we facilitate the exchange of financial and social capital and gather proof points that trusting low-income communities and directing dollars straight into their hands has a better return on investment than traditional government or nonprofit programs.
Using rich quantitative and qualitative family data and highlighting the power of community, we are inviting philanthropy, policy makers, and government agencies to join us in this strength based approach that fortifies social connection, directly invests in initiatives, and honors family agency.
In this video from Summer 2018, FII staff and family partners reflect on what happens when families are given the choice to deploy their resources within their existing networks as they see fit.