Candidate Maya Wiley took center-Zoom on Friday at the first in a series of virtual breakfast meetings between the city’s business, nonprofit, public sector leaders, and the candidates in the 2021 race for mayor.

Wiley used her moment to announce a plan to reduce the burdens placed on women, who have suffered high rates of job losses during the pandemic, by creating a so-called “care economy” that would focus on providing structural and financial support to address the needs of child and elder care .

“Women caretakers must be counted, every single day in every single way, in every single community,” Wiley said.

Her plan, a variation on cash payments to the poor proposed by several other mayoral candidates, involves two main elements. The first would offer annual $5,000 grants to 100,000 of the lowest income New Yorkers to put towards the cost of caring for family members, either to supplement lost income or to offset the cost of paying a provider, including family and friends who provide care.

Wiley’s campaign estimates the program would cost $500 million. The majority of those funds, $300,00, would come from reducing the size of the incoming cadet classes for the NYPD and Correction Department for two years, bringing the headcount down by 2,250 and 750 officers, respectively. An additional $200 million would come from state and federal grant funds.

The other part of the plan would involve building roughly 50 centers in each of the five boroughs that could provide a combination of childcare, eldercare and other family support services. The program, which she said she would launch through executive order, would initially serve 300,000 residents in its first year and grow to at least one million. The plan would rely on $35 million in reallocated state and federal grant money, along with an additional $20 million in new city spending.

Friday’s event sponsored by the Association for a Better New York, which was initially formed to help the city recover from the 1970’s fiscal crisis, has traditionally offered a platform for candidates to present their “big idea” for addressing the city’s most pressing concerns. It’s where Mayor Bill de Blasio first announced his proposal for universal prekindergarten, which became a cornerstone of his 2013 campaign and a defining policy of his mayoralty.

While the city is already awash in mayoral forums, Melva Miller, chief executive of ABNY, said they made a strategic decision to wait to start these candidate conversations until later in the election cycle to ensure candidates were bringing real policy proposals to their members.

Miller said candidates were scheduled in part based on their availability. The events are scheduled for Friday mornings until early April. The line-up includes Shaun Donovan (2/19), Kathryn Garcia (2/26), Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (3/5), Dianne Morales (3/12), NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer (3/19), Ray McGuire (3/26), and Andrew Yang (4/1).

Miller said there was nothing intentional about when the candidates are scheduled, with Wiley delivering the opening salvo and Andrew Yang in the final slot closest to the actual primary when voters will be paying more attention to the race.

Though she did say the schedule would likely benefit her members. “We won’t fizzle out,” said Miller, explaining the need to keep people engaged over the length of the series. “Having Yang as the last scheduled candidate really worked out for us,” she added.