Michael Tubbs grew up in poverty, the son of a teenage mom and incarcerated father, in Stockton, California. However, he refused to allow adversity to block his aspirations. He attended Stanford University on scholarship. After graduating, he returned home and entered the political arena. At age 22, Tubbs won his election bid to become a Stockton City Council member. He was just getting started. In 2016, Tubbs became Stockton's first Black mayor.
During his mayoral tenure, Tubbs was best known for launching the first-ever municipal level basic income pilot, giving 125 residents $500 per month. Tubbs' idea caught the interest of several other mayors across the country. He was a featured TED Talks speaker and made Forbes' 30 Under 30 list in 2018.
In an interview with the North California Grantmakers, Tubbs thanks his hometown for his success, "I was part of a village, with my family, nonprofits, and the city. I found a bridge that allowed me to be able to go from living in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Stockton to being able to attend Stanford."