Joining forces,
deepening our impact


A message from the desk of Harish I. Patel

Dearest friends and supporters,

When I started Economic Security for Illinois in February 2019, we were told our policy ideas were “too bold.” We were laughed out of rooms with elected officials when we suggested that a guaranteed income was not only possible, but also could be paid for with public dollars. In the span of three years, our small team managed to turn those “too bold” policy ideas into reality-- and into cash in our neighbors’ hands. Together with our partners across the state, we successfully advocated for over one billion dollars worth of direct cash programs and tax policies that directly people and communities who need it most. 


We don’t take these victories for granted. From expanding the state’s Earned Income Credit to making Chicagoland the nation’s leader in guaranteed income experiments, we know there’s still so much work to be done. We remain dedicated to our mission to build collective power to make Illinois’ economy the most inclusive and equitable in the country. 


Today, I come to you with great pride with an exciting new opportunity to take our work to the next level:

Starting January 1st, 2023, we are officially joining forces with Economic Security Project!

Those of you who have worked alongside us know well that we are often supported in our work by the team at ESP.  They were, in fact, the first funder to invest in us when we were leading the Chicago Resilient Families Task Force in summer of 2018. Over the last six years, ESP has established itself as an organization capable of moving bold economic ideas into the mainstream of the debate for how to make the economy work for people, and not just the wealthy few. ESP is a national leader in the movement for a guaranteed income, they have led the charge for Child Tax Credits, stimulus checks, and antimonopoly action. The staff at ESP have been the greatest thought partners, cheerleaders, advisors; and now, they will be colleagues.
Learn more about ESP

So, what will this mean for our work? Joining forces as an affiliate ESP will allow us to deepen our impact by providing resources, expertise, and capacity to our fight. We will be able to work closely with research, communications, policy, and campaign experts who can offer us a platform to share our strategies, tactics, and lessons learned with other localities, allowing Illinois to be seen as a national leader. 


Much of how you see our staff on a day to day basis will remain the same. Our commitment to make Illinois’ economy more inclusive and equitable remains fully intact. We will continue to push for Chicagoland to break ground in guaranteed income space through policy interventions, pilots, and communications support. We are eagerly invested in our narrative change fellowship, which will culminate with works that demonstrate the power of cash in an artist showcase this summer. And we will continue our role in leading the 40+ members of the Cost-of-Living Refund coalition. That’s why we brought on Erion Malasi to lead our policy work at the state- and local-level, including advocating for creation of a state Child Tax Credit with the Illinois General Assembly.

What will change is my own capacity to influence the Illinois policy world. In this new arrangement, I (Harish) will turn over my “Director” hat and become Vice President, Build the Field at Economic Security Project. In this role, I’ll do what I love best: move forward big ideas that have the power to transform our economy. I’ll also be able to provide the resources to turn those ideas into reality.


Our staff will settle into roles within ESP’s departments that allow them the space to grow their professional skills, and be managed by experts in their respective fields. With this new arrangement, we will be supported by an operations team that is well-versed on handling all the back-end complexities that our work entails, and allows our staff to focus energy on our programming.


We welcome your questions and your well-wishes as we transition officially at the end of this year. I invite you to share your thoughts with me in writing or welcome the chance to meet one on one via


We are truly excited to grow our work and impact as team members at Economic Security Project. We feel immense gratitude to all of you who have stood by and helped us to succeed in our time as the tiny, mighty team that wants to change the lives’ of our neighbors through tax and cash policy. 

In partnership,


Harish and Team ESIL 

Economic Security for Illinois 2022

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