Ms. Magazine Releases First Installment of “Front and Center”


Today, Ms. magazine published the first installment of its new, year-long series, Front and Center, created in partnership with Springboard to Opportunities. In this first-person commentary piece called “A Little Push,” Tia, a Black mother of three previously living in extreme poverty, recounts how receiving $1,000 per month for 12 months changed her life, allowing her to better care for the health and basic needs of herself and her children, see her father for the first time in 20 years, and afford a house.

Tia’s article is available to be republished, following guidelines at the bottom of the piece.

Front and Center highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trust program, which this year will give $1,000 per month for 12 months to 100 families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing. The average annual household income of participating families is under $12,000. The series aims to put front and center the voices of Black women who are affected most by the often-abstract policies currently debated at the national level.

“I get emotional talking about it, but I just feel very honored. Because I was able to get that little push, and that’s what I needed,” Tia writes in her essay in Ms. on being able to take part in the program. “And so many people need that, just a little push.”

Tia also describes how guaranteed income relieved much of the stress of her day-to-day life. “I just wasn’t so stressed out about everything, because it’s different when you have that little extra help,” she writes. “My rent went up, and that was okay, I could handle it. My car broke down, I was able to get it fixed right away. Things would happen, but I could take care of them. Before, it was always just living paycheck to paycheck.”

The Magnolia Mother’s Trust has worked with more than 200 Black mothers over the last two and a half years, making it the longest-run guaranteed income program in the country that is funded entirely by private philanthropic donors. The initiative aims to prove the case for how direct cash payments without restrictions can be a crucial component of the social safety net, which the federal government should provide.

The Magnolia Mother’s Trust is already showing exciting results that demonstrate the potential of guaranteed income to help families experiencing poverty lead healthier, more economically secure lives. Beneficiaries of the first cohorts are 40% less likely to report debt from emergency loans, 27% more likely to seek medical help for chronic illness and sickness, and are able to budget up to $150 more for food and household costs.

Every other week, Front and Center will feature one mother who will share her story on how guaranteed income changed her life, empowering each of their families to live with security, dignity and new opportunities. The Magnolia Mother’s Trust set out to explore the possibilities that could open up for families with low incomes if financial survival weren’t always top of mind—what dreams would these mothers and families be able to pursue? What activism and community leadership might arise? This groundbreaking series of first-person accounts published by Ms. will address these and other questions, by placing one mother’s story front and center in each installment.

Articles in Front and Center are free to republish, under the following guidelines:

  • Please credit Ms. as the original publisher. At the top of the text of your story, include a line that reads: “This story was originally published by Ms.” Link the word “This story” to this story, and the word “Ms.” to com.
  • You must credit the author of the article and include the bio below.
  • You may also republish the photographs included in this story, including the original credit.
  • If you share republished stories on social media, we’d appreciate being tagged in your posts. You can find Ms. on Twitter @MsMagazine, on Instagram @ms_magazine and on Facebook.

Aisha Nyandoro, CEO of Springboard to Opportunities (which administers the Magnolia Mother’s Trust), is available for interviews.


About Springboard to Opportunities: Springboard to Opportunities is a nonprofit organization working with residents of federally-subsidized housing to help them reach their goals in school, work and life. Springboard’s programs are resident-driven, centered around the needs of the community to create resources that support and empower them as they take steps toward success.

About Magnolia Mother’s Trust: Springboard launched Magnolia Mother’s Trust in the fall of 2018, after listening to residents about what they need to reach their goals. Through this initiative, Springboard gives Black mothers living in extreme poverty who are the heads of their households $1,000 per month for 12 months. This year is the third year of the initiative.

About Ms. magazine: Co-founded by Gloria Steinem in 1972 and published by the Feminist Majority Foundation since 2001, Ms. magazine has been a trusted, popular source for feminist news and information in print and online for nearly 50 years. Ms.’s time-honored traditions of an emphasis on in-depth investigative reporting and feminist political analysis have never been more relevant, bringing a new generation of writers and readers together to share news, analysis, research and strategies for fighting back and moving forward, for shaping the future.