Can an extra $800 a month lift someone out of poverty? Local nonprofits put cash to the test.

BOSTON (The Boston Globe) – Cities aren’t the only proponents of giving no-strings-attached cash to people in need. Here come the nonprofits.

The national movement, which had its local roots in Chelsea and spread to Cambridge, aims to empower low-income households with monthly stipends and settle an age-old debate about whether we can trust poor people with money instead of having them constantly jump through hoops to receive aid.

Advocates of so-called guaranteed income programs believe that low-income households know best how to lift themselves out of poverty rather than being told what to do. It’s that combination of confidence and cash that can help people move up the economic ladder.

At least three local nonprofits have launched pilots in recent months: Camp Harbor View with 50 families that are receiving $583 a month for two years; United South End Settlements with 16 families that are getting $800 a month for 18 months; and UpTogether — in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, Harvard Business School, and others — has embarked on a research project providing nearly 1,500 families with varying amounts of money and social capital over 18 months.

Camp Harbor View joins national movement, launches guaranteed income pilot with UpTogether

50 Families will receive $7,000 per year for two years

Boston, MA – A group of Boston families are the newest champions for the impact of direct cash investments on social and economic mobility. Camp Harbor View recently launched a near $800,000 guaranteed income pilot, in partnership with anti-poverty nonprofit UpTogether, that provides 50 Boston households $7,000 each year for two years. These families are able to use the funds however they choose and do not need to pay it back.

After just five months, families are reporting greater overall financial stability. A participating parent, who wished to remain anonymous, says the program is having transformative effects on her physical and mental wellbeing as well as her financial stability.

“As a single mom, I have worked two jobs for the last six years to make ends meet. With the GI grant, I have been able to focus on my full-time job,” she said. “The time I’ve gained back has improved my focus, given me more time with my children, and allowed me to participate in professional development, which led to a promotion.”

Rooted locally, Camp Harbor View is committed to addressing the pervasive racial and economic opportunity gaps that exist in Boston.

“This pilot is about trusting and empowering families,” Camp Harbor View Chairman Jack Connors, Jr said. “I believe this will prove to be an innovative and necessary approach to partnering with families, ensuring that economic mobility is possible in our city.”

Each of the 50 enrolled families receives $583 in unrestricted cash monthly for the duration of the 24-month pilot. The participants were asked to set at least one financial goal at the start of the pilot and then they are given surveys quarterly—along with a small group of families who are not receiving funds—to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. To measure the efficacy of this two-year pilot, Camp Harbor View engaged an experienced independent evaluator to collect data and study outcomes.

The results from the pilot will have an impact beyond Boston.  In partnership with the Economic Security Project, the Camp Harbor View learnings will be part of a growing body of national research on guaranteed income programs.           

“As someone who lived in Boston for 17 years, and still loves the city, I am beyond excited to see the impact this pilot will have on families here,” said UpTogether CEO Jesús Gerena.  “At UpTogether, we know it’s not just about the impact of unrestricted cash investments on individual households, but most importantly, the exponential impact those dollars will have on entire communities.”


About Camp Harbor View: Camp Harbor View works with 1,000+ young Bostonians and their families each year offering a one-of-a-kind summer camp for kids in grades 6-8, year-round leadership development for teens in grades 9-12, and comprehensive family services, including college and career planning, scholarships, clinical support, and food access — all at no cost to families.

About UpTogether: UpTogether is a community, a movement, and a platform that highlights, accelerates, and invests in the initiative people in financially under-resourced communities are taking to improve their lives and move up, together. Using compelling data and personal success stories to transform stereotypes, beliefs, and policies, UpTogether champions the effort to boost long-term economic mobility in communities that have been under-served for far too long.


Join Fit February & support Camp Harbor View with your workout

Camp Harbor View and our friends at EverybodyFights gyms have an exciting invite for you. We’re launching Fit February — a month-long leaderboard challenge to benefit Camp Harbor View.

Here’s how it’ll work:

  • Donate $50 or more to support our work (or pay what you can, we want everybody in this with us!)
  • You’ll get an invite from us to select your home gym (the EverybodyFights gym in Seaport or FiDi)
  • You’ll be automatically added to the Fit February Leaderboard and eligible to win some big prizes just for working out, including roundtrip tickets anywhere JetBlue flies!

Everybody Fights is serious about Covid-19, members are required to wear masks while in the gym and the facilities are using enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures. Boston also requires that everyone be vaccinated against Covid-19 to attend a class in the gym. More information about Covid-19 protocols and other information about the challenge is available in FAQs below.

What are you waiting for? Sign up today!

Fit February FAQs

Q: What is Fit February?

A: It’s a month-long endurance challenge with our partners at EverybodyFights gym. With a $50 donation to Camp Harbor View, participants received a one-month pass which includes access to all workout classes (i.e. open gym, boxing, cardio, strength classes) at your choice of one of Everybody Fights’ Boston locations (Seaport and FiDi). The proceeds from registration go towards our programs and services that benefit 1,000 young Boston kids and their families.

Q: How do I sign up?

A: In order to join, you’ll need to follow these four steps:

  1. Donate $50 (or any amount) to support Camp Harbor View on this page to get your one-month access code.
  2. Head to the EverybodyFights site up a username and password & choose your home gym (Seaport or FiDi).
  3. Click “Buy Series”.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and enter your home gym code under “Redeem Free Class” (you’ll get your code when you sign up on the Camp Harbor View site in step 1 above)!
Q: What are challenge rules?

Camp Harbor View and Everybody Fights are hosting the Fit February 2022 challenge. All activities are subject to the Everybody Fights terms.

Prizes will be awarded to eligible participants based on the participants with the most “rounds” completed and tracked in the Everybody Fights Camp Harbor View leaderboard — via the EverybodyFights Training Camp app. (one class = 12 rounds).

Who is eligible

All adults ages 18+ as of Feb. 1, 2022 are eligible, with the exception of:

  • Full-time, year-round employees of Camp Harbor View
  • Full-time and part-time employees (or contractors, vendors, or partners) of EverybodyFights


Participation requirements

All participants must complete an Everybody Fights waiver.

No purchase is necessary for participation. All donations are optional. Interested parties may email to participate.

Logging your workout

It is the responsibility of the participant to log your workout at the gym.

You must be on location at Everybody Fights to log your workout through the Everybody Fights Training Camp App at the time of your workout (staff at the gym should be able to help you if you have any issues)


The following prizes will be awarded to participants based on the number of days they check into classes in February:

1st prize (most workout days tracked in the EF Training Camp app in February): Two tickets anywhere JetBlue flies and a $250 Airbnb gift card.

2nd prize: P-Town Getaway (second-most workout days tracked in the EF Training Camp app in February): Two ferry tickets to Provincetown (thanks to Baystate Cruises), gift cards for the Cape Colony hotel and Red Inn restaurant, and a one-year family membership to the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.

3rd Prize: On the town in Boston (third-most workout days tracked in the EF Training Camp app in February) Four premium Boston Red Sox tickets for the 2022 season, two happy-hour package tickets from Boston Crawling, and a gift card from Ostra restaurant.

In case of a tie

In the case of a tie for first, second, and/or third place prizes, Camp Harbor View will randomly select a winner. The loser of a tiebreaker for first place will win second place, the loser of a tiebreaker for second place will win third place.

Q: How does the leaderboard track my participation?

A: Download the Everybody Fights app (available on iOS and Android) and the app will keep track of each day you visit the gym. It takes note when you are within one mile of either gym location. Therefore, you must allow the app to have location permissions.

Q: What if I do two classes in a day?

A: Unfortunately, the app will not be able to recognize more than one visit per day. We encourage you to take one class per day.

Q: What are the gym’s Covid-19 protocols?

A: We are dedicated to ensuring everyone’s comfortability and safety. Boston regulations require anyone entering a gym be vaccinated against Covid-19. Individuals are required to wear masks indoors and wipe down their equipment after use from one of the various wipe stations. If comfortable, participants can take off their masks when working out in their own station, but must put it back on when transporting from station to station. We also strongly encourage everyone to not come to class if they aren’t feeling well.

Q: Can I join the challenge as a team?

A: Yes! We strongly encourage teams. When you sign up for Everybody Fights, please have every member of your team put their name and in parentheses, the team name. You will not be able to see your team up on the leaderboard as one unit; however, at the end of the challenge we will add each individual’s points with the same team name to see the total.

Q. Who can I contact with questions?

Making the season bright [video]

From Thanksgiving dinner to gifts at the holidays, this annual tradition seeks to alleviate family stress and bring kids joy. It’s one of our most meaningful programs for families and donors alike, with both experiencing the generosity of spirit in the holiday season.

Take a look at this heartwarming video to see the Camp Harbor View community’s holiday celebrations with over 400 families from start to finish.

Thanks to the generous support of hundreds of donors, partners, and volunteers, we doubled the number of families reached this year, distributing $101,800 in gift cards for parents to use to purchase their children items on their wishlist, bins with household essentials, and festive holiday supplies. Happy Holidays for all of us at Camp Harbor View!

A guaranteed income program for a stronger Boston

In August of 2021, Camp Harbor View proudly partnered with UpTogether to launch a two-year guaranteed income pilot with 50 Boston families. The $735,000 program, which provides no-strings attached payments of $583 per family each month, is one of the largest funded by a community-based organization nationwide. 

A decade’s worth of peer-reviewed evidence shows that guaranteed income is a uniquely powerful tool in supporting families as they achieve upward economic mobility. This pilot program seeks to improve families’ emotional and physical health — as well as their economic security — by pairing direct income with community connections and resources. 

“Guaranteed income is a transformative tool to promote social and economic mobility and long-term financial sustainability. We are excited to partner with 50 Boston families in this pilot, while also contributing to the growing body of research nationally about guaranteed income,” Lisa Fortenberry, Executive Director of Camp Harbor View said. 

Camp Harbor View’s partnership with UpTogether — a national nonprofit that highlights, invests in, and accelerates the initiatives people in historically under-resourced communities are taking to improve their lives and move up, together — began in 2019.  The next year, the two organizations launched a Covid-19 relief fund that offered families emergency funds via direct transfer.  Over the past two decades, UpTogether has invested more than $135 million in guaranteed income payments to households in all 50 states, nurtured deep community connections, and proved that this strength-based approach can be a catalyst to drive long-term economic and social mobility. 

This pilot program runs through mid-2023, and the Camp Harbor View and UpTogether teams are working closely with families each week as they build community, listen, learn, and support one another. 

The Camp Harbor View team is excited to share more updates and to work with other partners in Boston to invest more deeply in the families that will be the future of our city.  If you’d like to discuss, please reach out to our team.

Partnering with Boston families [video]

At Camp Harbor View we believe that it takes real relationships with the entire family to fully support Boston’s next generation. In this video you’ll meet Paula and three of her kids — Lereca, Bryan, and Gyara. They’ve been part of the Camp Harbor View family for over ten years — and their story shows how powerful we can be together when we invest in Boston families.

A Statement on the Attack at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021

We’d like to start by vehemently condemning the events that took place yesterday in our nation’s capital. The terror brought forth by a group of radicalized Americans was an attack on both our democratic institutions and our values. January 6, 2021 will be remembered as a dark day in American history, but one that we hope will serve as a starting point to bring about the kind of change that will improve the community, nation, and world around us.

Our work at Camp Harbor View is about partnering with young people and their families to bring about access and opportunity. In this uncertain and, at times, chaotic world, we remain committed to being a source of consistency and support for the young people, families, and communities we partner with. We recognize and acknowledge the pain and tumult that yesterday’s events sparked for many in our community. We stand as committed as ever to the work ahead – to listening, advocating, healing, and recovering.

Yesterday does not represent the America that we want for ourselves or our children. As we move forward in the days, months, and years ahead, we hope that the work brings about a more kind, just, and equitable country.

Camp Harbor Views

On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, Camp Harbor Views – a free online experience for families, supporters, and champions of our mission – celebrated the resiliency of our community and shared our views on the past, present, and future of the organization.

Hosted by Jenny Johnson of NESN’s Dining Playbook and Camp Harbor View’s Advisory Council, it was an evening full of surprises. Over 700 attendees heard from organization leaders, champions, and a few special guests sharing stories of joy, hope, and the community that made it all possible. The celebration was capped off with four impressive Leaders in Training sharing their 2020 experiences and why they’re hopeful for the future.

Watch the evening’s program from start to finish below to hear more young leaders share their perspectives.  We promise it will leave you energized and inspired.

Camp Harbor View is made possible by the generous support of donors. We hope you’re inspired to continue to invest in the future of Boston with us. Please consider donating to support our mission and share the magic of Camp Harbor View with family, friends, and fellow Bostonians by following us on social media. Thank you for being a part of this community.

Celebrate #BostonBlackHistory With Us

We’re excited to continue #BostonBlackHistory this February in celebration of Black History Month, posting stories on the legacy of Black history in our wonderful and culturally rich city across our social media channels and encouraging everyone in Boston to join the conversation by sharing stories of their own.

Leaders in Training in our program helped brainstorm and develop the stories we’re telling. History matters and representation matters – and through this project we seek to highlight the great diversity and character of the city of Boston.

Here are just a few of our favorites from the stories told by teens in our program and by members of this community so far. Do you have one to add? Post it to your social channels with the hashtag #BostonBlackHistory or send it our way via email at or Instagram @campharborview. Please join us in raising awareness of these important stories.

#BostonBlackHistory posts

#BostonBlackHistory posts