The Bridge Project Gives Moms ‘A Little Space to Breathe’

Posted by Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity on March 29, 2022

In this Spotlight Exclusive, Holly Fogle, co-principal of the Monarch Foundation, describes the success of the Bridge Project, a pilot project in New York City that provides unconditional cash to low-income mothers during the first 1,000 days of their children’s lives. Fogle has partnered with the Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania to test whether different amounts of money make a difference for families; in the first phase, 50 participants are receiving $500 a month while another 50 receive $1,000. To qualify for the program, an applicant must be a mom with a baby, not exceed an income limit, and live in a certain set of zip codes in New York City. While the program is still in its early days, mothers in the program have shared that the program has been life-changing. All participants have used the money for food, diapers, and necessities and some have reported using the payments for childcare, household appliances, or transportation to medical appointments. Even with the program’s success thus far, Fogle still faces opposition from those who suggest that unconditional cash programs increase spending on drugs and alcohol or encourage people to avoid working. However, Fogle continues to cite both the encouraging data from current studies and the anecdotal evidence she has collected. “People have dreams—we have dreams for ourselves and we have dreams for our babies,” says Fogle. “What we’re trying to do is recognize that people have dreams and to support them and empower them and give them the dignity to make those dreams real.”

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