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2020 Census

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

The Bay Area Census Funders Collaborative is a network of foundations across the Bay Area, contributed funds to Silicon Valley Community Foundation and East Bay Community Foundation to provide grants to nonprofit organizations that will engage in Census 2020 outreach among hard-to-count populations. In the Spring of 2019, the collaborative announced a grant program to support Census 2020 education and outreach efforts and minimize the undercount in the nine-county Bay Area region (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma).
Since issuing the RFP (Request for Proposals), the Collaborative has announced more than 3.3 million in grants to nearly 130 nonprofit community-based organizations. 

Fund Contributors

We are grateful to many individual donors who have made donations towards census outreach to ensure that there is a fair, accurate count. Organizations providing funding for these grants:

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation, East Bay Community Foundation, The Grove Foundation, The Health Trust, Heising-Simons Foundation, Hellman Foundation, Helzel Family Foundation, John Pritzker Family Foundation, The Libra Foundation, Metta Fund, San Francisco Foundation, Sisters of St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Silver Giving Foundation, The Sobrato Family Foundation, Stupski Foundation, Sunlight Giving, The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, Walter & Elise Haas Fund, Y&H Soda Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation.


Upcoming 2020 Census programming coming soon. In the meantime, take a look at our past events.


Thursday, July 22, 2021

No matter our color, background, zip code or political views, our democracy should work for everyone. Democracy in the United States is premised on the notion that every voter should have the freedom to cast their vote. Through the act of voting we make our voices heard elect representatives who govern in our name and enact our priorities.  

Logo representing the Bay Area Census Funders Collaborative
Thursday, September 19, 2019

“This collaboration enables us to provide Bay Area nonprofits with resources needed to ensure the people in our region are counted accurately,” said Ellen LaPointe, president and CEO of Northern California Grantmakers. “We are proud to be working with local community partners to get the job done.”

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the citizenship question cannot, for now, be added to the 2020 Census. While this is an important step forward, significant challenges remain to ensuring that every person in our community is counted. The Bay Area Census Funders Collaborative (BACFC) remains committed to working together to bring resources to trusted community-based organizations to ensure a fair and accurate count.


As California continues to prepare for the 2020 Census, it is easy to forget that redistricting comes immediately after. Similar to the census, redistricting will have high-stakes impact on public sector leadership, political power, and financial resources for the decade that follows.

The United States Census is conducted every 10 years in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. It is the most expansive peacetime exercise of the federal government as it aims to count every single resident living in the entire country.

The changing demographics and political attitudes of the Central Valley - a traditionally conservative region of California - demand new strategies for community and civic engagement.