The Census is one of the cornerstones of our American democracy. Mandated by the United States Constitution, it is conducted every 10 years and is the largest peacetime effort of the federal government. Census data is used for a variety of purposes from allocation of billions of dollars of federal funding to political representation apportionment to enforcement of civil rights laws. When census information is not accurate, it threatens to muffle the voices of undercounted groups and regions, and undermine the basic political equality that is central to our democracy. Institutions across the country - including local and state governments, businesses, nonprofits and foundations - routinely rely on data from the census to allocate funding, define where services are delivered and promote economic development.
The Census Bureau is facing a daunting set of challenges as it prepares for the 2020 census. Since the bureau is facing budget constraints like never before, it is planning to collect the majority of Census information online, scale back door-to-door outreach, and roll back canvassing. These changes increase the potential of undercounting young children, minorities, low-income individuals and other marginalized individuals. Given the current climate, regional and national philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) and their members are needed to advocate and educate elected officials and community leaders on the importance and impact of the 2020 Census on their communities. Even without the changes being proposed for the 2020 Census, we know there were gross undercounts of vulnerable populations in California in the 2010 Census. There is much work ahead for philanthropy in ensuring a fair and accurate count.
Bay Area Census Funders Collaborative
Northern California Grantmakers, in partnership with the East Bay Community Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and other foundations who are committed to ensuring a fair and complete count, have come together in the Bay Area Census Funders Collaborative to announce a grant program to support Census 2020 education and outreach efforts and minimize the undercount in our region. The Bay Area Census Funders Collaborative will award grants to nonprofit organizations working to engage and promote the participation of hard-to-count communities in the nine-county Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma).
We are grateful to many individual donors who have made donations towards census outreach to ensure that there is a fair, accurate count.
East Bay Community Foundation, The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, The Grove Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, Hellman Foundation, Lesher Foundation, The Libra Foundation, Northern California Grantmakers, The San Francisco Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The Sobrato Family Foundation, Y&H Soda Foundation, Sunlight Giving, Zellerbach Family Foundation.