The Nest: Guaranteed Income Pilot

Supporting pregnant and parenting families with no-strings-attached GI

Perigee Fund believes that cash resources that support families and reduce stress during the sensitive prenatal-to-3 period can improve outcomes for children and parents. Boosting the financial security of low-income parents and primary caregivers with unrestricted cash has the direct effect of reducing the overload and immediate stress that families experience.

In 2023, grantee Hummingbird Indigenous Family Services launched the Nest — a guaranteed Income (GI) pilot that spans several geographies in Washington state. It is part of a growing number of local GI pilots across the United States. The Nest focuses on the prenatal-to-3 period, starting during pregnancy and extending to the child’s third birthday. It is the first in the nation to center Native American/American Indian, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian pregnant and parenting people. The launch followed an extensive planning process with deep community and family engagement. In addition to monthly GI payments, Hummingbird offers optional culturally relevant perinatal services and programs to participants. 

Unconditional and unrestricted cash reflects a set of values that departs sharply from paternalistic, stigmatizing approaches to poverty alleviation dominant in the U.S. for decades. Further, unconditional cash has numerous and well documented benefits for household economic stability and maternal and child health. Studies illustrate that the cognitive and brain development of low-income children differs from that of children in higher-income families. Higher family income is associated with better performance on assessments of children’s language, memory, executive function and socioemotional functioning, with corresponding associations found in the neural structure and function of brain regions that support these skills. 

Until recently, GI was considered a fringe idea. Various GI pilots and cash support programs available during the COVID-19 pandemic provide emerging data and insights into what families need to thrive. There is an opportunity to continue to make the case and build public and political will for broader, sustained investment in unrestricted cash for families.

about the national Baby’s First Years study, a project for which Perigee provides funding.

about the California Abundant Birth Project, a GBI pilot from which Perigee draws inspiration.

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