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Everyone counts: Grants totaling $3.3M go to Bay Area nonprofits for Census 2020 outreach

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Logo representing the Bay Area Census Funders Collaborative

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - The Bay Area Census Funders Collaborative (BACFC) is pleased to announce more than $3.3 million in grants to nearly 130 nonprofit community-based organizations to promote Census 2020 education and outreach efforts and minimize the chances that residents of the nine-county Bay Area region will be left out of the census count.

Census data is used to determine states’ representation in Congress, funding levels for crucial social programs and allocation of billions of federal dollars across a wide range of services.

“It’s crucial that all residents of our Bay Area communities are counted accurately by the census, so we get fair access to political representation and federal funding -- that’s the bottom line,” said Nicole Taylor, president and CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. “The nonprofit organizations that received these grants have great expertise and commitment to their communities, and through their efforts, we hope to get a ‘complete count’ in our region.”

Through a common application and RFP process, the BACFC received 171 proposals amounting to nearly $9.5 million in requested grant dollars to support census education and outreach activities in hard-to-count communities. “Hard-to-count” populations include young children, the elderly, immigrants, homeless people and low-income individuals.

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. Despite the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling blocking the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census, there is still significant work ahead to ensure a fair and accurate count of all Californians.

The nonprofit organizations awarded grants from the Bay Area Census Funders Collaborative will be addressing the challenge of counting all residents of the nine-county region. Among the grantees:

  • Self-Help for the Elderly received $15,000 to support the 2020 census by conducting an on-the-ground, community-based campaign to reach, educate and assist the most vulnerable hard-to-count senior populations residing in San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Alameda counties. 
  • Rise University Preparatory received $30,000 to support census participation among the African American community in the following San Francisco neighborhoods: Bayview-Hunters Point, Potrero, Mission and the Richmond. 
  • Multicultural Institute received $20,000 to inform, encourage and prepare day laborers and other Latino immigrants residing in Alameda, Contra Costa and San Mateo counties, to participate in the 2020 census. 
  • Tax-Aid received $12,000 to leverage the concurrence of the census count and tax season by encouraging census completion, serving clients in Alameda, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties.

For a full list of grantees receiving funds from the BACFC, click here

For the first time, the Census Bureau is planning to collect the majority of census information online and scale back door-to-door outreach and canvassing. 

“The East Bay in particular is home to a number of unconventional and untraditional housing units which is a result of our region’s skyrocketing housing costs and limited supply,” said James Head, President & CEO, East Bay Community Foundation. “The reduction in door-to-door canvassing, coupled with the shift to the online census platform and concerns about access to broadband, computer literacy, and hacking -- continue to reinforce the critical importance of our efforts in hard-to-reach communities.”

Federal-level actions and policies including the proposed citizenship question on the census, changes to the “public charge” regulations, raids and deportations have created a pervasive anti-immigrant climate and instilled fear and mistrust among immigrant communities regarding government activities like the census.

Because of these challenges, the BACFC prioritized proposals that included direct outreach activities aimed at hard-to-count communities. Those activities include door-to-door outreach, canvassing, educational workshops and technical assistance. A regional focus ensured that funding would be used across the nine counties to reach a diversity of hard-to-count populations.

“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.” The BACFC is also working closely in coordination with other regional sources of funding for census outreach, including United Way Bay Area, which is the state-designated regional Administrative Community-Based Organization, and local county offices.

As the administration of the census approaches in April 2020, the BACFC will continue to identify strategies to support grantees and other community-based organizations in census outreach and education to ensure a fair and accurate count.


The Bay Area Census Funders Collaborative is a partnership between Northern California Grantmakers, East Bay Community Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation and other foundations that have come together to support Census 2020 education and outreach efforts to minimize the undercount in our region. Our nine-county Bay Area region is inclusive of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma counties.

We are grateful to many individual donors and the following foundations that have made donations towards census outreach to ensure that there is a fair and accurate count.

Andrea Boehmer, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, East Bay Community Foundation, The Grove Foundation, The Health Trust, Heising-Simons Foundation, Hellman Family, Helzel Family Foundation, John Pritzker Family Fund, Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation, The Libra Foundation, Lydia & Thomas Moran, Deborah Zimmer, 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.

About Northern California Grantmakers
Northern California Grantmakers is an association of great people doing great work. We bring together foundations, nonprofit organizations, government, and business to tackle our region’s most pressing social issues. We pool resources, share information, and learn from each other, making our collective impact far greater than if we were going it alone. Learn more at ncg.org.

About Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems, engaging donors to make our region and world better for all. Learn more at siliconvalleycf.org.

About East Bay Community Foundation
The East Bay Community Foundation is committed to advancing a Just East Bay. We partner with donors, social movements, and the community to eliminate structural barriers, advance racial equity, and transform political, social, and economic outcomes for all who call the East Bay home. Learn more at ebcf.org.


Media Inquiries

Contact Kayla Ballard, Communications Manager, Northern California Grantmakers at kballard@ncg.org