Parent review feedback summary
- Overall, parent reviewers find UpTogether to have great potential in dramatically helping families in need, as it provides necessary financial support.
- Parent reviewers were challenged with seeing the vision of this program and wonder if realistically it could become policy. Without there being a guarantee for funds, reviewers are hesitant that it can be a true offering or service through child welfare rather than a one-time opportunity. A reviewer admitted they can’t envision how this program would be applicable to child welfare, since there is no guarantee that parents would receive anything.
- Systems that adopt this program must consider campaign awareness (how do families in need know about this?), application screenings (guaranteeing funds go to the right people), and what happens after funds have been dispersed (plans for ongoing care).
What is the intervention?
Individuals and families (called “members”) who have joined the UpTogether Community online social platform have opportunities to access cash offers from various funding partners on the site.
It’s free and anyone can sign up to be a member of the networking community, yet cash offers are not guaranteed. The cash assistance comes from donors – individuals and foundations as well as governments like cities and counties and there aren’t enough cash grants for everyone. In addition, some funding is set for specific populations, like families in a specific geographic area, or people of a certain household size or income level.
Members can use any cash investment they receive however they choose and don’t have to pay it back. Members also exchange resources and strengthen their social networks by using the networking platform to support each other to reach their financial and personal goals.
NOTE: Because every individual’s situation is different, members are, if applicable, advised to speak with their caseworker or someone in their local benefits office to get advice on their individual case before accepting a cash offer from UpTogether.
What makes it a Bright Spot?
UpTogether used to be called Family Independence Initiative and was started by a man named Mauricio Miller who was inspired by his hard-working immigrant mother, Berta. Berta didn’t have a social network or access to enough cash without strings attached, but she never lacked intelligence, ingenuity, or drive.
The UpTogether model is rooted in the belief Mauricio had about his mother, that if families and individuals had access to resources and community support, they would decide for themselves how to use them and they could move up, together, out of their challenging financial situation. From UpTogether, “Our members are smart, resourceful, skilled, creative and full of ideas. We’re just helping them meet and connect with each other.”
The UpTogether Community platform is ad-free and they do not sell member data.
What steps can you take?
UpTogether partners with a variety of funders including government entities such as cities or departments of human services to create UpTogether funding opportunities.
- Contact UpTogether directly to inquire about a partnership opportunity
These downloadable resources may help provide additional context and information about this family-approved resource for systems change.
Let us know any information to consider adding to this Bright Spots practice.
Share this Bright Spot with a colleague
Have an idea?