Key Moments from 2021
After nearly 20 years as Family Independence Initiative (FII), we rebranded as UpTogether. We made the change to more clearly convey our purpose and engagement with our community. We have and always will be about community moving up, together. We believe this new brand will only further our vision of a world where everyone is recognized for their initiative, supported for their self-determination and where access to resources is determined by strengths, not deficits.
- Building Evidence
In collaboration with Oakland Thrives, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income and a funding partner, we launched Oakland Resilient Families (ORF), one of the largest guaranteed income pilots in the country. As of December 2021, 600 randomly selected families were chosen for the pilot to receive $500 per month for 18 months. 300 individuals and families enrolled in the pilot are also participating in UpTogether groups to demonstrate the full impact of our strength-based approach of community, capital and choice.
We also launched an 18-month research project in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts called the Trust + Invest Collaborative (TIC). More than 1,500 families are participating, each randomly placed in different study groups with different experiences. Everyone receives a minimum of $760 and has the choice of participating in paid quarterly surveys.
- Influencing Government
After three years of tireless actions throughout the Lone Star state by our team, our members and our partners, we successfully influenced the City of Austin to pass a $1.1 million budget amendment to allocate funds to create a guaranteed income pilot centered on our strength-based approach. The pilot would be modeled in part by an UpTogether pilot that invested in 173 households in Central Texas. While we are thrilled with the budget amendment, we are most excited about the role our members and other community groups played in this win. They organized, advocated for themselves and demanded city officials trust and invest in them.
- A Growing Team
Our team grew rapidly in 2021, increasing by 44% from 34 to 49 full-time employees. We added staff in every department, including the addition of two new members to our executive team, Chief Operating Officer Elliot Ling and Vice President of Partnerships & Revenue Beth Oppenheim.