Supporting Black and Pacific Islander Pregnant Women

The Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) is proud to support Expecting Justice, a collective impact initiative working to reduce birth disparities, on its guaranteed income pilot, which provides cash assistance to Black and Pacific Islander women during pregnancy and after giving birth.

Problem: Babies being born prematurely is a leading cause of infant mortality and has been linked to lifelong conditions, such as learning difficulties and chronic diseases. In San Francisco, Black infants are almost twice as likely to be born prematurely compared to white infants. Additionally, Black families account for half of all maternal deaths and 15 percent of infant deaths, despite representing only four percent of births. Pacific Islander babies and families face similar disparities. Expecting Justice, a collective impact initiative led by Dr. Zea Malawa at the San Francisco Department of Public, and the UCSF California Preterm Birth Initiative are both committed to reducing birth disparities, including high rates of preterm birth and infant mortality among Black and Pacific Islander communities.

Innovation: To address these birth disparities, Expecting Justice will pilot the Abundant Birth Project, an initiative to provide an unconditional monthly income supplement of $1,000 to approximately 150 Black and Pacific Islander in San Francisco for the duration of their pregnancy and the first six months of their baby’s life. The USCF Preterm Birth Initiative will study the resulting health impacts of the pilot with a focus on reducing preterm births and improving birth outcomes for all participants. OFE is supporting this first-of-a-kind initiative by providing guidance on issues related to income supplementation, including helping the project secure local, state and federal benefits waivers and providing guidance on federal income tax implications and disbursement mechanisms that can best build participants’ financial capacity.