December 1, 2023
The program has assisted over 300 families and has plans to expand even further.
Vox reports that Magnolia Mother’s Trust is the country’s leading guaranteed income program focused on helping young Black mothers.
Founded by Aisha Nyandoro in 2018, the initiative provides monthly $1,000 stipends to Black mothers in need in Jackson, Mississippi. It has since assisted over 300 families and has plans to expand even further. Since its establishment, there has been a marked improvement in health and education among those impacted, with respondents reporting that they are 27% more likely to go to a doctor when sick and another 20% more likely to have children perform above their designated grade level, according to Ms. Magazine. Some 88% of mothers also reported being able to save money for emergencies as opposed to the initial 40%.
Along with a stipend, MMT allows mothers and children the opportunity for social experiences and sets up a 529 savings account for children under 18.
Unlike other projects aimed at combating poverty, Magnolia Mother’s Trust differs because it understands that poverty transcends generations. According to the Brookings Institute, children raised in low-income households are more likely to remain in poverty as adults compared to their peers. This is just one example of intergenerational poverty rather than an isolated reality. However, with programs like MMT, there’s a possibility of making a difference.
Following the dissolution of the Expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC), many mothers in Mississippi struggled to stay afloat. Then came MMT, which helped those left reeling from the plan’s expiration. Still, though it managed to help several families, MMT does not see itself as a permanent fix.
Nyandoro, also the founding CEO of the nonprofit Springboard of Opportunities, which is dedicated to tackling generational poverty, spoke to Vox in 2021 after the CTC became defunct. “I’m thrilled that the organization lead is standing in the gap,” Nyandoro said. “But this is not a long-term solution … We need a scale that we can only get at the national level.” Nyandoro suggests that CTC be restored and the federal government allocate guaranteed income nationally.
In the long run, Nyandoro plans to continue reshaping the poverty narrative. Though it won’t be easy, she seems more than ready for the challenge.
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