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Massachusetts Census Equity Fund 2020

Massachusetts Census Equity Fund 2020 Census2.7.18.v2.jpg

The decennial census is a nonpartisan exercise and a cornerstone of our democracy.  Every 10 years, the US Constitution requires that all residents, including non-citizens and undocumented immigrants, be counted through a nationwide census. Collecting accurate Census data is an essential part in determining a fair allocation of federal funds and political representation at the federal, state, and local levels. The 2020 Census will have a wide-ranging and long-term impact on the future of our Commonwealth.

2020 Census – What’s at stake:

  • In FY15, the federal government distributed nearly $600 billion dollars to states based on census data for programs including Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, Section 8, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Head Start, and WIC. This resulted in more than $16 billion in funding for Massachusetts.
  • Massachusetts could lose $2,372 per year per person in federal funding for each person not counted on the Census. Without this critical government funding, communities and nonprofits would suffer; philanthropy would be unable to fill the gap.
  • Data collected by the Census is critical in supporting infrastructure investments, public health, and transportation and for implementation and enforcement of most civil rights laws—including the Voting Rights Act as well as fair housing, education, and employment laws.
  • Local, state, and federal governments, businesses, nonprofits, and foundations all rely on data collected by the Census to allocate funding, measure impact, and make strategic decisions around service delivery and economic development.
  • While the number of seats that Massachusetts has in the US House of Representatives and in the Electoral College is unlikely to be impacted by the 2020 Census, the data collected will form the basis of redistricting at the state level.

Historically, certain populations are “hard-to-count”:

  • Urban and rural areas with large low-income populations, people of color, immigrants, non-English speakers, migrant workers, ex-offenders, young children, the elderly, those who are disabled, renters, the homeless, and those living in mobile homes or multi-unit residences are historically hard-to-count. The 2020 Census will also be the first all-digital count, adding new challenges of counting those who lack digital literacy and internet access.
  • Additional concerns about the 2020 Census include insufficient and delayed funding, turnover of experienced leadership at the Census Bureau, and a climate of fear in immigrant communities, compounded by the suggestion that the Census will include a citizenship question.

This collaboration will support a coordinated, state-wide campaign with the following goals:

  1. Educating stakeholders, community leaders, elected officials, the media, and the general public on the importance and impact of the 2020 Census on our Commonwealth.
  2. Increasing the response rate in hard-to-count communities to achieve an equitable Census count.

The Massachusetts Census Equity Fund 2020 will coordinate:

  1. A learning community to educate about the importance of the Census. This will include convenings, workshops, and webinars for funders and nonprofis, and other members of the community to receive regular updates throughout the Census campaign and to promote their active involvement in the process. 
  2. A grantmaking process that will target support to community-based organizations with strong plans to overcome barriers to accurate counting in specific hard-to-count sectors. 

We will develop critical partnerships to ensure that the project reaches targeted hard-to-count communities. This includes working with foundations, nonprofits, and census representatives as well as local, state, and federal officials. With sufficient resources to organize a broad coalition, we can have a significant impact that will carry our Commonwealth into the next decade.

To read more about the Massaschusetts Census Equity Fund 2020 including timeline for this work, download the two-page overview "Massachusetts Census Equity Fund 2020"


    Massachusetts Funder Committee for the 2020 Census
    Access Strategies Fund
    The Boston Foundation
    Episcopal City Mission
    The Hyams Foundation
    Herman and Frieda L. Miller Foundation​
    Philanthropy Massachusetts

    To get involved or for more information, contact Alexie Torres, Executive Director of Access Strategies Fund and Chair of the Massachusetts Census Equity Fund

    133 Federal Street, Suite 802 | Boston, MA 02110
    Phone: 617.426.2606 | Fax: 617.426.2849
    © 2018 Philanthropy Massachusetts