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2020 was a year of extraordinary challenges that exposed and exacerbated the inequities and gaps in public benefits systems. In the face of the new reality brought about by COVID-19 and the resulting economic downturn, the focus of leaders across the United States has shifted to include the importance of benefits access in providing relief to households across the country.
Since the onset of the pandemic, BDT has made crucial improvements and changes to expand our impact and meet the moment. Without the tireless work of our team and partners, our achievements amid such uncertainty would not have been within reach.
Over the past decade, a declining share of eligible families have participated in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), despite the program's well-documented dietary, health, and developmental benefits. We seek to change that.
In partnership with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), BDT conducted pilots in four states with randomized controlled trials to show how harnessing data and technology can help close participation gaps, giving more families the opportunity to access the improved nutritional outcomes that WIC offers.
Building on the pilot learnings detailed in our latest report, BDT is now working with eight states that are home to more than one in four people nationally who are eligible for WIC but not participating – we are leading workshops in seven states in continued partnership with CBPP, and launching a new WIC pilot in Michigan.
"Ensuring everyone eligible for public benefits gets them is the difference between life and death." - Trooper Sanders
Last month, Trooper Sanders participated in a dynamic livestream discussion as part of The Rockefeller Foundation’s #RFBreakthrough series. Alongside leaders from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Digital Response, Trooper discussed how our work has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic – and how critical it is that we work together to modernize and simplify government systems in the United States.
Since the successful launch of Wyatt, our free FAFSA assistance chatbot, BDT is continuing our efforts to reach college students where they are and ensure they receive the financial assistance for which they’re eligible. BDT is thrilled to announce our new partnership with Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) in Pennsylvania to help its students access vital resources that can help them pay for food, healthcare, housing, and more.
Together, we look forward to providing MCCC students with the resources they need to reach their fullest potential, both in the classroom and beyond.