Mayors for a Guaranteed Income

Durham's Guaranteed Income Pilot, Excel, is no longer accepting applications. Disbursements to selected individuals began on March 15, 2022 and ended on February 15, 2023.  Final pilot evaluation results are expected to be released in August 2024.

About Mayors for a Guaranteed Income

In September of 2020, former Mayor Steve Schewel joined Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), a network of mayors across the country committed to advancing local pilots and the national conversation around guaranteed income. A guaranteed income is a monthly, cash payment given directly to individuals. It is unconditional, with no strings attached and no work requirements. This monthly, cash payment to individuals is meant to supplement, rather than replace, the existing social safety net and be a tool to close the racial and gender income gap. It is MGI’s belief that these direct, recurring cash payments will lift all of our communities and build a more resilient, just America. Since its establishment in June 2020, the coalition has created an increase in support for guaranteed income policy across the country.

Mayors for a Guaranteed Income

About Durham's Pilot Program

Durham's Guaranteed Income Pilot, Excel, is no longer accepting applications. Disbursements to selected individuals began on March 15, 2022 and ended on February 15, 2023. Final pilot evaluation results are expected to be released in August 2024.

Durham's pilot program focusing on formerly incarcerated individuals is currently being planned for an official launch in 2022.  

Justice involvement comes with many collateral consequences. Individuals often struggle to find employment, applying sometimes for over a hundred jobs before finding a low wage job or just giving up.  Individuals may aspire to start their own business or to invest in training for a better job, but may lack the funds to pursue these dreams. These financial hardships may be borne by family members and may place added strain on these important relationships.  We believe a guaranteed income can help ensure a successful transition home by providing a much needed additional source of income to give people time to build a new life.

We believe that ongoing, direct cash payments can have the dual effect of stabilizing families and stimulating the local economy, that families are best positioned to know their needs and cash transfer programs that come with no strings attached give families the agency they need to address them. Furthermore, guaranteed income is part of a wider set of policies needed in our country to address rising income inequality. Our vision in embarking on this demonstration project in coalition with cities across the county is to strengthen a national value that declares there exists a floor beneath which we will allow no person to fall simply by virtue of their humanity. American cities are laboratories of democracy, and that it is incumbent upon cities to help advance and build evidence in support of transformative new approaches that hold promise for future generations. 

  1. News & Updates
  2. Request for Proposals
  3. Media

August 19, 2021 | StepUp Durham Selected as Administrator of City's Guaranteed Income Pilot

StepUp Durham

On Monday, August 16, 2021, City Council voted to authorize a contract with StepUp Durham to administer Durham’s Guaranteed Income Pilot. Learn more.

August 31, 2021 | Pilot Overview

To learn more about how the Durham Guaranteed Income Pilot will work, please see our one-pager. More information regarding recruitment for individuals who may be eligible to participate in this pilot will be released by StepUp Durham in the coming months.

September 7, 2021 | Durham's Guaranteed Income Pilot is now called Excel

Excel Logo

Durham's Guaranteed Income Pilot is now called Excel

Completing a pre-screen form is the first step in seeing if you are eligible for the pilot. If you are, your name will be added to an interest list. Within 60 days, you will receive more information on the next step. Learn more about Excel and submit a pre-screen form

If you need assistance completing the form or have additional questions, please contact StepUp's Excel Coordinator at (919) 813-0207‬.

November 15, 2021 | City of Durham seeks Benefits Counselor to support Excel

We are searching for a highly motivated individual to serve as Benefits Counselor for up to 115 selected pilot participants. To comply with the informed consent standards of Institutional Review Board (IRB) and in alignment with the values of agency and trusting residents to make the best decisions for themselves, this temporary, contract position will meet individually with participants during the pilot’s onboarding phase (est. 6 weeks), to ensure program participants are informed of the potential impact on any public benefits they are currently receiving. Learn more about the position.

January 5, 2022 | The Excel Application has Launched!


To qualify to be one of the 129 individuals randomly selected for the Excel pilot, individuals must fill out this survey, which will take between 30-60 minutes to complete. If you need technical assistance to complete the survey, please call the Excel Coordinator at 919-695-7764 to set up an appointment to use a computer at ReCity, located at 112 Broadway St, Durham, NC 27701.

The survey will be live until 11:59pm on January 23, 2022After that time, 129 Excel participants will be selected to receive $500/month starting in March. Additionally, 138 Excel Partners will be randomly selected. As a reminder, the Partners are individuals who will receive $30 payments for their completion of surveys provided by our Research Fellow. StepUp Durham will only notify Excel Participants regarding their selection. 

For additional assistance, contact the Excel Coordinator at 919-695-7764.

January 23, 2022 | Excel Application Closes and Participants Selected

The 129 individuals to receive $500/month have been selected. We have received our list of Excel Participants, and the first phase of the onboarding process will start. Those who have been selected to move forward will begin receiving calls from StepUp Durham. If a person does not receive a phone call, that means that they were not selected for this pilot. We will be unable to answer questions from individuals who were not selected. 

For additional assistance, contact the Excel Coordinator at 919-695-7764.

July 22, 2022 |  Save-the-Date: Stories of Guaranteed Income

Join Durham Neighbors, Step Up Durham, and the City of Durham to gather and share food, family-friendly fun, and stories of guaranteed income in our city. We'll have some activities the kids will enjoy so mark your calendars for a lively time at Ninth Street Bakery in Durham. 

Saturday, August 20, 2022 from 10 AM - 1 PM at Ninth Street Bakery, 136 E. Chapel Hill Street, Durham, NC 27701

Save the Date: Stores of Guaranteed Income

October 6, 2022 |  Six Months In: New Data Dashboard Finds Excel Helps Recipients Afford Basic Necessities

The initial spending and demographic results of Excel, Durham’s guaranteed income pilot were rolled out as part of a major, nationwide step forward for the guaranteed income movement. 

Mayors for a Guaranteed Income’s new data dashboard shows that in Durham and around the country, families are using their need-based cash payments to cover necessities in an uncertain economy — providing them with the opportunity, freedom and resilience they need to build financial security.

“The first six months of our pilot data reflects much of what I expected. It shows that individuals are spending these funds in the same ways that you and I would to support our own families. The monthly funds are providing a vital bridge to secure food and basic needs products and transportation services that each of us rely on every day to survive and thrive. We must continue to build an infrastructure around those that have been left out of our communities for far too long. Guaranteed income is one way to do that,"  said Mayor O’Neal.

Excel Spending Data - October 2022

June 14, 2023 | Get the Latest Excel Spending Data

Stay up to dates on the spending data for Durham's Guaranteed Income Pilot at on the Stanford Basic Income Lab's dashboard