TEDWomen 2023 takes place from October 11-13 inside Midtown’s Woodruff Arts Center. Photo by Janelle Ward/The Atlanta Voice

Aisha Nyandoro was one of eight speakers to address a full crowd at TED’s three-day TEDWomen 2023 conference Thursday afternoon, hosted inside the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown.

In her 13-minute lecture, the founder and CEO of Springboard to Opportunities spoke about her nonprofit work with poverty-stricken families in Mississippi and the importance of having access to cash when building and sustaining personal and generational wealth.

Based out of Jackson, Springboard to Opportunities connects families in need to programs and resources designed to assist those struggling financially in the state, particularly those residing in federally subsidized affordable housing.

Nyandoro said that these families, often led by single Black women, commonly lack the liquidity necessary to afford resources outside of basic necessities, including emergency expenses like car repairs that would prevent them from holding a job in the first place. To respond to this need and accelerate the organization’s progress, Nyandoro also founded the Magnolia Mother’s Trust in 2018, an initiative that grants $1,000 monthly to qualifying single mothers for a year.

Nyandoro said that $12,000 annually can be a life-changing amount of money for matriarchs accustomed to stretching a restricted income to cover basic necessities, wants and personal emergencies. The program benefits Black women breadwinners mentally, emotionally and financially by giving single mothers a guaranteed income to help care for their families and ensure financial stability between pay periods.

“We provide $1,000 monthly for 12 months for Black women,” Nyandoro said. “And our goal is still to provide these women with the breathing room they need by giving them the financial resources they need to dream a little bigger.”

The Magnolia Mother’s Trust is the first modern guaranteed income program in the United States, as well as the first in the world to center its efforts on supporting Black women specifically.

“(The monthly stipend) allows you to take care of the practical needs, like getting your car repaired, but it also allows you to shift your reality from scarcity to abundance; from tunneling to imagination; from scraping by to genuine opportunity,” Nyandoro said.

Aside from offering monetary assistance, Nyandoro said the program also allows struggling mothers to reshape their definition of wealth from one grounded in survival to one that is based around financial freedom and the well-being of their families.

“Black women have ushered in a movement, and it has been beautiful,” Nyandoro said. “But it is just the start.”