Wole Coaxum.

Wole Coaxum is the CEO of MoCaFi, which has distributed over $52 million in basic income payments.Coaxum, a former JP Morgan exec, was inspired by social justice movements in the Black community.He wanted to create a pathway for economic equality to uplift vulnerable populations.

This is an As Told To essay based on a conversation with Wole Coaxum, the founder and CEO of MoCaFi, a B Corporation that has distributed over $52 million worth of guaranteed basic income payments nationwide. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I was very fortunate in my career to be one of the most senior people at JP Morgan. I was a managing director and the number two guy in business banking nationally when I saw the images coming out of Ferguson. I thought, “It’s 2014, and what we’re seeing is no different than what was going on in 1968.”

The people protesting were making a statement, and it was coming out of a place of wanting change. I thought, “How can I use my time and talents, which is financial services, to bring an economic justice agenda to the social justice agenda?” And that inspired me to start MoCaFi.

Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about universal basic income and guaranteed basic income just before he passed away, and I feel that we as a company are very fortunate to be standing on the shoulders of others to bring these powerful ideas into the marketplace.

We’ve done about a dozen UBI and GBI programs around the country. We’ve facilitated programs in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and San Francisco, among others. Some of them are through MGI, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income. We’re finding that what we’re doing resonates with cities and counties. They see the value of it.

One of the things I would say in response to the red states opposing this is we’re not a political entity. We’re just trying to provide a high-quality platform that ensures that a UBI or GBI program fulfills its mission so that the individuals have access to the cash and can move forward. It’s hard to argue with the idea of getting resources from government to people more efficiently. Even my most conservative friends can get behind a more efficient government.

We are facilitating payments in a way that reduces all the friction. We have a disbursement platform, and then we have a demand deposit account. We’re trying to take individuals receiving a UBI and GBI and bring financial coaching and resources to them. They don’t have to operate in cash or cash checks. They can create a MoCaFi bank account that’s FDIC-insured. We can open up accounts for undocumented people. We can open up accounts for people regardless of their credit score. Now, they’ve got a pathway to economic stability.

There’s an old narrative demonizing low-income people who receive government resources. That’s the wrong lens in my personal view. Most, if not all, Americans are getting some benefit from the federal government. Why is a universal basic income that much different? Why not streamline the process so the most vulnerable among us can get access to those funds?

People use the money for the intended purpose. It increases savings. It decreases poverty. It increases education. It reduces the need for crime. It gives people more dignity. It makes our neighborhoods safer. It enables families to get jobs they couldn’t get otherwise because they’re paying for childcare or healthcare. The proof is in the pudding.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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