Cash Payments Begin for Let’s GO DMV!, An Innovative 5-Year Guaranteed Income Pilot for Hospitality Workers Affected by COVID

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Cash Payments Begin for Let’s GO DMV!, An Innovative 5-Year Guaranteed Income Pilot

for Hospitality Workers Affected by COVID



WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 19, 2022)

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our region–and in particular, on Black and other

people of color who had previously worked in the DC region’s hospitality industry. A newly

launched guaranteed income pilot plans to change that by creating economic opportunity and

stability for workers and supporting the building of their individual and collective power. Let’s

Guarantee Opportunity (GO) DMV! intends to give $1,000 a month–no strings attached–for the

next 5 years to 75 hospitality workers in the Washington, DC region who lost their jobs during


Let’s GO DMV! pilot participants live across the greater Washington region. They come from

diverse backgrounds with various lived experiences. All but one participant is a person of color,

and about half are immigrants. Through the pandemic, they have engaged in organizing,

advocacy, mutual aid and community building.

The pilot grew from the vision of Venorica “Vee” Tucker, a longtime hospitality worker, organizer

with Restaurant Opportunities Centers of Washington DC (ROC-DC) and community member in

if, A Foundation for Radical Possibility’s network.

“In 2019, I took part in a popular education series about philanthropy organized by if, and I

learned how foundations invest their endowments to earn income to make grants, cover

expenses and sustain themselves,” said Tucker. “Hospitality workers were–we still are–faced

with not being able to secure consistent work and income to sustain our families and daily lives,

much less the ability to dream and build for the future. I knew there was a way to use

philanthropy to raise and grow money to provide direct cash assistance to displaced hospitality

workers, so I reached out to Yanique Redwood, then if’s President and CEO, with an idea.”

“Vee presented us with a vision for a worker-centered approach to getting urgently needed cash

directly into community, and if pulled together a values-aligned table of partners to help advance

this vision for economic justice.” said Hanh Le, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for if.

Project partners include if, Amalgamated Bank, Amalgamated Foundation, Bread for the City,

DC Guaranteed Income Coalition, Greater Washington Community Foundation, ROC-DC,

Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers and Whitman-Walker Health.

“Let’s GO DMV! addresses a glaring reality as it relates to the racial wealth gap: that Black

people and other people of color in our region were disproportionately impacted by the

COVID-19 dual health and economic crises, further widening pre-existing disparities,” states

Tonia Wellons, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “It is

designed to get cash in people’s hands now – giving them increased flexibility and

financial freedom to overcome the systemic barriers they face. Our hope is that this

initiative can be used as a case for future government-supported programs and policies

that are needed to advance economic justice.”

Initial pilot funding has been provided by Amalgamated Foundation, the BMC Cares Fund,

Greater Washington Community Foundation, Hill-Snowdon Foundation, Horning Family

Foundation, if, the Lindenberg Family Fund, The Lois & Richard England Family Foundation,

Meyer Foundation, Open Horizon, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and several individual


“To sustain the program over the course of 5 years, Let’s GO DMV! partners are developing an

impact investment strategy to raise and deploy capital for local impact investments that will

benefit the region and generate the income to fund the cash payments to the workers,” said

Executive Director of Amalgamated Foundation Anna Fink.

Ruth LaToison Ifill, President and CEO of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

states, “This is an opportunity for funders committed to the Washington, DC region to use all

their assets–dollar and non-dollar–to mobilize for the transformative change needed to get

closer to racial justice in our region. The Let’s GO DMV! project represents some of the bravest

work philanthropy is supporting in our region.”

In February, Let’s GO DMV! met its goal of raising the initial $1 million dollars in private funding

needed to distribute the first year of cash payments and began cash distributions in March. To

kickoff the occasion, a community celebration was held on Sunday, April 10 at Rock Creek Park.

For more information in joining the movement or to donate, visit:



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