A Note From the Census Subgroup

Below is a memo from four foundation CEOs –  Patrick Gaspard (of Open Society Foundations), Barbara Picower (of The JPB Foundation), LaJune Montgomery Tabron (of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation), and Darren Walker (of Ford Foundation) –  who have been playing a leadership role in promoting a fair and accurate census. Each is part of a philanthropic steering committee, called the Census Subgroup, that has overseen a strategic census plan that focuses on counting the hardest to reach. 
 
Dear Colleague:

When we started planning the census strategy in 2015 we never imagined the full slate of challenges we face today. We thought the total budget from 2016 through the 2020 census for the national effort would be around $29 million. Instead it will be around $72 million – and that doesn’t count philanthropic support within states for census outreach. As the memo below notes, funders of all sizes and from all parts of the country have been stepping up – and now we need to close the funding gap. I’ll let the four CEOs speak for themselves.

Gary D. Bass
Executive Director
Bauman Foundation
2040 S St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 328-2040
---------------------------
TO:       Colleagues in philanthropy
 
FROM: Patrick Gaspard, Open Society Foundations
             Barbara Picower, The JPB Foundation
             LaJune Montgomery Tabron, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
             Darren Walker, Ford Foundation
           
RE:       Support for the 2020 Census
 
Dear colleagues:
 
We are eleven months out from Census Day, April 1, 2020, when the decennial count will begin. This means we are at a critical moment when advocates, organizers, activists, faith, business, community leaders, and elected officials from around the country are coming together to launch a massive and coordinated “get out the count” effort focused on the most hard-to-count communities. As foundations supporting work towards a full and accurate census, we have identified a $10 million gap to fill to support these efforts.
 
Census data is used to distribute more than $800 billion dollars in federal funds, as well as to apportion congressional seats and design and draw local, state and congressional legislative districts. It is relied upon by researchers, demographers, businesses, governments and philanthropy to understand who lives in our country and in our communities. It drives decisions by funders and nonprofits concerned about local services, from public education to healthcare to housing. In short, a lot is at stake.
 
Philanthropic support to assure a fair and accurate count at the national and state level has been tremendous over the last few months. Many of you have made significant and generous contributions to this work, recognizing the myriad ways both your foundations and your grantees rely on accurate census data, especially from communities that are traditionally undercounted. 
 
Because so much is at stake this year, our foundations have each pledged an additional $5 million to support the national work planned by the funder collaborative. We now ask you to help us meet the remaining $10 million deficit. To date, over 90 funders have supported this work by contributing what they can, from $15,000 to $5 million.
 
Here are a few examples of what your dollars will support:
 
· A network of 17 national hubs focused on different communities that are hard to count. These hub organizations are doing public opinion research to help shape messages, coordinating efforts between the local, state and national organizations, and distributing multilingual materials and tools to community groups and local trusted messengers.
 
· A strategic communications effort to create and distribute materials and information to reach the hardest-to-count communities, counter online disinformation, and educate and engage local and ethnic media.
 
· A Census Equity Fund that is supporting coordinated campaigns by state and local groups in at least 13 states that have large hard-to-count populations and limited local philanthropy.
 
· New digital organizing tools, platforms, trainings, and strategies that will help state and local groups working to “get out the count” scale their efforts to reach hard-to-count households, and strengthen their civic engagement work well beyond 2020.
 
We encourage you to contribute to the Census 2020 collaborative fund, housed at New Venture Fund, or make grants directly to organizations who are working in alignment with this larger effort. Each of us has program officers who are deeply engaged in this work and are standing by ready to share information and answer questions, or you can reach out to Gary Bass at the Bauman Foundation, who is chairing the funder collaborative. We have listed their contact information below.
 
Even though the focus is on Get Out the Count efforts, the funder collaborative continues to support work to ensure the Census Bureau has adequate governmental resources to successfully implement the census, and that the online census works properly. Additionally, the Supreme Court heard arguments on April 23 about whether the citizenship question will be on the census and is expected to make its decision in June. Either way the decision goes, we must be prepared for a strong Get Out the Count effort.
 
Please join us and help us fill the $10 million funding gap. Every grant makes a difference.
 
For more information, please reach out to any of our colleagues:
Evan Bacalao, Open Society Foundations,  evan.bacalao@opensocietyfoundations.org
Gary Bass, Bauman Foundation,  gbass@baumanfoundation.org
Regina Bell, W.K. Kellogg Foundation,  Regina.Bell@wkkf.org
Angela Cheng, The JPB Foundation,  A C heng@jpbfoundation.org
Erika Wood, Ford Foundation,  e.wood@fordfoundation.org

CENSUS IN THE NEWS
Read the Stanford Social Innovation Review's article on how Funders Can Bolster Democracy by Supporting Census Tech.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has produced a large number of resources for census work, include fact sheets. Find the information you need here .

A thoughtful look at How the Census Changed America written by Ted Widmer, contributor to The New Yorker.
Much at stake for full Census count: Libraries expected to play key role in online count
The Daily Gazette
By Stephen Williams

Libraries are poised and will be leading census efforts in communities across New York. Read the full article here .
A terrible time for de Blasio to cut library funding
Crain's New York Business
By Julie Sandorf

The census has always been the bedrock of our democracy. However, unlike any time in this country’s history, this bedrock is at risk. The odds are stacked against a successful census. It’s going to be largely online for the first time ever, it’s been severely underfunded, and in an effort to intimidate immigrants, the federal government has added a citizenship question for the first time in more than 50 years. Read the full article here.

The Unclear Path for New York's Belated Census Effort
WSHU Public Radio
Charles Lane

The state commission set up to make sure all New Yorkers are counted in the 2020 Census has been plagued with delays, vacant positions and a budget half of what was requested by state legislators. And now some commissioners are worried the task force won’t be able to allocate money until June.
“I’m concerned about that, maybe it won’t be a six-month delay, but at this point none of the commissions have had so much as an outline to look at,” said Esmeralda Simmons, executive director of CUNY’s Center for Law and Social Justice and an Assembly Democratic appointee to the commission. To listen to the report click here .

CENSUS HIRING
Partnership Specialist Positions are Open in Otsego or Delaware County



To help explain the opportunities around census hiring, the Census Bureau has created the Census Job Facts Sheet . Please share with your nonprofit partners interested in workforce development efforts as it relates to census.
CENSUS EVENT in the ADIRONDACKS
Join the NYS Complete Count Commission for a Census Roundtable meeting in Ray Brook, NY!

Wednesday, May 22nd at 2:00 pm
Adirondack Park Agency
1133 NYS Route 86
To RSVP, please send an email to hearing@labor.ny.go v .


T o submit public comment, click here .
FOUNDATION RESOURCES
UPDATED: Key 2020 Census Milestones 
Funders Census Initiative (FCI) has released the updated version of the  Key 2020 Census Milestones , which reflects the Census Bureau's latest planning and timeline as reflected in Operational Plan 4.0. This document should be reviewed in conjunction with this recently updated document for funders:


Did you know that 95% of households will receive a census questionnaire in the mail? And less than 1% will be counted in person? To learn more about how people will be counted in 2020, click on the info-graphic above.

Find out Why Your Foundation Should Become a 2020 Census Official Partner by clicking here .
GRANTEE RESOURCES
For grantees looking to engage in census-related activities, refer them to   NY Counts 2020.   NY Counts 2020 is a coalition of nearly 100 diverse nonprofits/groups from across New York State developing a state-strategy focused on advocacy efforts, and providing information, resources and technical assistance as it relates to 'get out the count' measures to community-based organizations. 

This email was generated by Engage New York in support of the NYS Census Equity Fund; a pooled fund focused on supporting and mobilizing get out the count efforts to ensure every New Yorker is counted in Census 2020.