About Us


About Us • Overview

United For ALICE

United For ALICE is a driver of innovation, research, and action to improve life across the country for ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and for all. Through the development of the ALICE measurements, a comprehensive, unbiased picture of financial hardship has emerged.

Harnessing this data and research on the mismatch between low-paying jobs and the cost of survival, ALICE partners convene, advocate, and collaborate on solutions that promote financial stability at local, state, and national levels.

This grassroots ALICE movement, led by United Way of Northern New Jersey, has spread to half of U.S. states and includes United Ways, corporations, nonprofits and foundations in Arkansas, Connecticut,  Delaware, District of Columbia,  Florida,  Hawai‘i, Idaho,  Illinois,  Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi,  New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia , and Wisconsin; we are United For ALICE.

The ALICE research quantifies and describes the number of households that are struggling financially.

From humble beginnings as a study to understand the struggles of families in one New Jersey county, this body of research has worked to increasingly shed light on a hidden population we now know as ALICE. After a decade of work, the spark ignited by the initial study has grown to include United Ways, corporations, nonprofits, and foundations across half of U.S. states in a grassroots movement to change the national dialogue about financial hardship.

Based on the overwhelming success of the research in identifying and communicating the needs of ALICE households, this collaborative is working together to give ALICE a national voice.

Why This Work Matters

This project raises awareness about a huge but hidden segment of our community that is struggling to afford basic necessities. The success of a community is directly related to the financial stability of its members.

Rent or electric bill? Food or prescription drug? For too many hardworking households, impossible decisions such as these are a way of life. When ALICE is forced to make difficult choices, the entire community faces consequences. United for ALICE provides a framework and language for stakeholders to reassess public and corporate policies and implement changes that improve the lives of ALICE and their communities.

What We Do

With more than four in ten households in the United States unable to stretch their income to meet their household needs, many policies and programs must be reassessed or even reconsidered. To inform the dialogue about this growing crisis and how it affects us all, this project:

  1. Produces Reports

    We provide unbiased data that is replicable, easily updated on a regular basis, and sensitive to local context.

    Based upon the highest quality, unbiased data we are able to measure financial hardship and understand why so many households struggle to make ends meet. Each ALICE report contains data on household budgets, demographics, employment opportunities, housing affordability, public and private assistance, and other critical economic factors. Our methodology is reviewed biennially by outside experts and each state report is supported with an independent Research Advisory Committees of local data and subject-matter experts.

  2. Leads a Learning Community

    United For ALICE facilitates a forum for sharing experiences, developing best practices, and building broader impact and fundraising strategies

    The network of stakeholders who care about ALICE participate in sessions to learn and share new ideas, policy innovations, and best practices with each other.

  3. Inspires Action

    The ultimate goal of this project is to stimulate action that will improve the financial stability of ALICE families and their communities.

    This body of work places ALICE at the center of community conversations on critical issues. Local United Ways involved in this effort are forging new relationships with community partners, educators, corporations, and government officials to identify opportunities and build strategies that support ALICE. The ALICE data has been widely used in the education, government, nonprofit, health, policy, and research arenas to better understand local economic conditions and the demographics of our communities.