Growing Resilience In Tacoma (GRIT) - a guaranteed income demonstration


"I can breathe easier for a moment instead of worrying myself to death about money, working extra hours, and hours of lost sleep due to the mental and physical effects of not knowing how I will provide for my family" - GRIT recipient 

Growing Resilience In Tacoma (GRIT) is a 13-month guaranteed income research demonstration that we ran in partnership with the City of Tacoma, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Guaranteed Income. 

From December 2021 to December 2022, GRIT gifted 110 Tacoma ALICE families $500 a month, a total of $715,000. These dollars were unconditional and had no strings attached. 

GRIT was designed to demonstrate that a modest, no strings attached, cash investment can improve economic stability, housing security, mental health and well-being, and reduce poverty in our community.  


Tacoma's guaranteed income program ‘GRIT’ may help more residents over next 2 years

Grit on Fox News - 12/4/2023

“I have the chance to make my own decisions... it is so much different than how it used to feel,” Says a GRIT recipient. They add that this “blessing” has kept them from needing a second job, has allowed them to leave an unsafe workspace, supported them in finding safe housing, keeps their car bills paid, and might even allow for a day at a theme park for them and their daughter.


Click the picture to read Comments and Bio's for some of the recipients


geno stephanie boy and woman



“GRIT has helped me in ways I didn’t expect, and those payments helped me be able to afford the expensive tutoring that my 11 year old really needed. It’s changed my house for the better. And I’ve felt so much less month-to-month stress since this program started. It feels like I have some room to breathe. “ - GRIT recipient 

Recipient Demographics and Eligibility 

The composition of participants matches, to the extent possible given randomization limitations, the configuration of race and gender in Pierce County ALICE families.

The dollars provided an outsized benefit to women, Black, Indigenous, Latino, and multiracial communities given they are overly represented in lower-income brackets (which is in itself a symptom of our racist and sexist economic system). 

Race (in %)
Native American/
Pacific Islander - 4%
Black African American - 26%
American Indian/
Alaska Native - 2%
Asian - 4%
White - 23%
Hispanic/Latino - 4%
Two or more races - 37%

Gender (in%)
Female - 82%
Male - 16%
Non-conforming - 1%

The 110 families that received the guaranteed income were randomly selected from a pool of qualified applicants.

Qualified individuals were:

·City of Tacoma Residents currently residing in Eastside (98404), Hilltop (98405), South Tacoma (98409) or the South End (98408)
·Single income households with children living in the home up to age 17, children with disabilities up to age 21.
·Meet the ALICE definition: Asset Limited, Income Constrained while Employed. ALICE households income is between 100% and 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.

“First, just being accepted into this program was awesome. To have that tiny bump to help combat debt/bills is terrific and terrifying. Terrific because I know that utility bill will be paid and my family will have power and water. I can breathe easier for a moment instead of worrying myself to death about money, working extra hours, and hours of lost sleep due to the mental/physical affects of not knowing how I will provide for my family. 

Initial Findings

"It was a huge leap to get past the guilt and shame of 'who am I to accept this?'... There is that assumption that you always have to be doing something to be deserving of receiving, and it's just strange because we are always doing something. We are." - GRIT recipient 

GRIT is a randomized control trial (RCT) being run by the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Guaranteed Income Research. In the RCT there are 110 Tacoma families that receive $500 each month and participate in optional, compensated surveys and qualitative interviews every 6 months. As a comparison group to the 110, there are 132 Tacoma families who are demographically similar to the 110, however, do not receive the $500 each month but are invited to participate in the surveys and interviews. We expect to have survey data in July 2024. 

To review GRIT data and data from our partner cities please explore



Spending Behavior

pie chart grit

GRIT believes there is an opportunity to not only provide cash as a tool of poverty alleviation, but also to learn through pilots and demonstrations how to administer support programs in a way that empowers the individual, affirms trust and respect, and honors the value of people's time and dignity. Some of our administrative lessons learned include: 

Benefits protection - Ensuring that additional income does not harm families. Guaranteed income is best positioned in addition to current benefits systems

Self-attestation - Allowing families the ability to self-attest to their relationship to eligibility criteria lightened administrative burden, saved time for busy recipients, and created a foundation of trust

Providing disbursement options for banked, unbanked, and underbanked participants

Working with the impacted community to ensure awareness and supportive programming

Kind and thoughtful communication with participants goes a long way