Grantee Spotlight: Elevate Boulder

The City of Boulder’s guaranteed income pilot project takes root.

Boulder is known for being one of the happiest cities in the U.S., but it’s also one of the most expensive places to live in the nation. Nearly one in four Boulder households lacks the monthly income to make ends meet, struggling with the ability to pay rent, feed their families, get child care, medical care, or pay their bills. The City of Boulder, inspired by the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income movement, decided to tackle this issue head-on by launching Elevate Boulder, the city’s own guaranteed income pilot project. Elevate Boulder aims to provide 200 low-income Boulder households with $500 per month for two years, and in doing so, support residents to become more financially self-sufficient.  
For Nicole Borrelli, who served on the Elevate Boulder Community Task Force, the value of guaranteed income is aligned with her belief that all people deserve to be able to thrive. "Not everyone has the same opportunity to receive high paying jobs that are necessary to thrive in our community,” said Borrelli. “People that work lower income jobs deserve to not only meet their basic needs but also enjoy other activities with their families.”  
Supported by $3 million in funding from the City of Boulder’s American Rescue Plan Act funds, Elevate Boulder’s direct cash payments will be unconditional and unrestricted, meaning the funds can be used however the participants see fit without anything expected in return. “Most financial assistance programs come with lots of restrictions or conditions,” said Elizabeth Crowe, Deputy Director of the city’s Housing and Human Services department. “Guaranteed income pilot projects like Elevate Boulder can transform the way local governments support low-income community members, by trusting people to know what’s best for themselves and their families.”
The City of Boulder also received a grant from Community Foundation Boulder County’s Millennium Trust — a fund which was created at the turn of the millennium to support innovative projects in Boulder County. The funds from this grant, totaling $70,000, support an inclusive and dignified application process and robust project evaluation. The community foundation is honored to partner with the City of Boulder on this program and applauds the city’s efforts to help ease the burden for low-income community members. 
To learn more about Elevate Boulder, visit the City of Boulder’s website