Published using Google Docs
PRESS RELEASE Evanston Equitable Recovery Fund 3/22/21
Updated automatically every 5 minutes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, March 22, 2021

CONTACT: Jenna Severson,

New Program Offers Direct Cash to Evanston’s Black Residents

Aldermen, Nonprofits Laud Evanston’s Embrace of Direct Relief

Evanston, IL -- The Family Independence Initiative (FII) on Monday launched the Evanston Equitable Recovery Fund, a privately funded initiative to provide 25 Evanson qualified residents with a $300 per month payment for 10 months. The Evanston City Council and Economic Security for Illinois (ESIL) both issued support of the initiative.

“We are grateful that FII and ESIL recognize our commitment to repair and justice in the Black community with this partnership. This program allows us to pilot this benefit with the hopes to build and expand it in the future--including, we hope, a transition to unrestricted cash benefits for qualified residents,” said Ald. Simmons. “Repair is needed urgently in the Black community, and we will keep taking tangible steps to make that happen.”

The Evanston City Council embraced the initiative as part of a broader effort to create reparations for African Americans impacted by racist legacies in the Chicago suburb. The Subcommittee on Reparations, led by Alderwoman Robin Rue Simmons (5th), Alderman Peter Braithewaite (2nd), and Alderwoman Ann Rainey (8th), spearheaded the effort.

“This is us saying yes to a cash fund,” said Ald. Braithewaite “I want to thank the Family Independence Initiative and Economic Security for Illinois for the investment and support in our effort to bring reparations to Evanston. I am confident that this is the first step toward continuing  future partnership.”

Key to the initiative is that there are no requirements for how recipients must spend their money--recipients can spend it as they choose. This differs from many anti-poverty government efforts, including the city’s own proposed Reparations Fund, which must be used to cover housing costs (e.g., downpayment assistance, mortgage or home repairs.)

“Whenever a local government puts unrestricted cash directly in the hands of residents who need it most, that’s progress,” said Harish I. Patel, Director of Economic Security for Illinois. “We are proud to partner with Evanston in its efforts to bring cash to people.”

Applications for the fund opened Monday, March 22nd at 9am CST and will close Monday, April 5th at 9am CST. The fund will randomly select 25 recipients who qualify. The fund is administered through FII’s UpTogether platform, which hosts and implements other direct cash distribution efforts across the country. Only one application per household will be accepted, and applicants must demonstrate that they or an ancestor lived in Evanston between 1919-1969. To submit an application, residents should visit

“It is such an honor for the City of Evanston and its efforts to bring reparations are being recognized by groups like the Family Independence Initiative,” said Ald. Rainey. “Their work to address economic insecurity with unrestricted cash payments has made a difference in many families’ lives all over our country. We thank them for recognizing we are on the right track.”

Evanston’s program builds on the success of similarly conceived guaranteed income pilots that have been gaining traction around the world. Recently released data from a guaranteed income pilot in Stockton, California found that recipients of $500 monthly checks were twice as likely to pay unexpected bills or pay down debt, saw increased job security and decreased income volatility, and found increased overall stability in the broader community. Results demonstrated that the recipients mostly used monthly checks to cover essentials, like gas, groceries and utilities.

UPDATE 3/23: A previous version of this release indicated financial support for the fund from Economic Security for Illinois. That is incorrect. The initiative is fully funded by the Family Independence Initiative and its donors.

A previous iteration included a quote from FII’s National Partnerships Director Ebony Scott. The quote has since been removed.


Economic Security for Illinois is a non-partisan non-profit advocating for bold policy solutions that work for working people. We promote ideas that will put money in people's pockets.