Elector Madison Forward Fund Program participantElector has lived in Madison since the age of five, and is originally from Tennessee. She has five kids, and most recently—prior to COVID—was working in a residential nursing facility. After the pandemic hit, the company she was working for was forced to lay off most of its workers. Overnight, Elector was out of work for the first time in her life. Elector says suddenly being unemployed, especially during the pandemic, was really hard for her and her family. There just wasn’t enough income to pay bills or put food on the table, and that financial stress led to emotional stress for Elector. The pandemic had this impact on so many families in Wisconsin.

“I’ve worked all of my life. I’ve worked ever since I could have a job. [The pandemic] really had a bad impact on me and my kids. So it’s been a hell of a road for me and my kiddos.”

At the same time, Elector’s building had serious safety and health concerns, and she was worried about the safety of her family while also worrying about being able to pay rent. Elector was considering moving her family out of state in the hopes of finding better employment opportunities. But with one of her sons so close to graduating from high school, she really wanted to make sure he could stay in Madison and finish his degree. Elector says the MFF funds offered her the opportunity to stay. While previously she felt like she had no options but to leave her community, MFF helped change the equation for her and her family. “When I got into the program, it gave me hope, gave me so much joy. Just knowing the income that MFF provided me and my kids was coming, it was like: okay, now I have a little bit more money, I can do this. I can pay my light bill. I can buy a Christmas tree. It just gave me hope.” 

Elector’s son is on track to graduate this spring and will soon be moving into his own apartment. Elector is caught up on her utility bills, and now has a payment plan set up with her landlord. But the biggest impact, Elector says, is the confidence in knowing that she can cover her expenses without worrying that people think she’s going to ask for help. She says she can now walk past her landlord without the stress of them asking for overdue rent, or worrying about getting a call from the utility company. “It feels good to have some type of security to fall back on, knowing you are gonna get the security no matter what. You can rely on that. It gives me strength and power, and to be told, ‘You can do it.’ That’s huge.”

It feels good to have some type of security to fall back on. You can rely on that. It gives me strength and power, and to be told, ‘You can do it.’ That’s huge.

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The Madison Forward Fund is no longer accepting applications. Disbursements to selected families began in September 2022.