Today marks the one year countdown to the 2020 Census. The decennial Census is one of the most important activities that we undertake collectively as a country. Census data is essential to determining allocation of federal funds and political representation at the federal, state, and local level.
Philanthropy Massachusetts is proud to play a role in the Mass Census Equity Fund, a donor collaborative that is supporting efforts to ensure a complete count. We’d like to share with you ways that you too can contribute to a complete count in 2020:
- Conduct direct outreach and raise public awareness. Leverage the communications channels and public spaces you already manage to message the importance of Census participation. Please visit https://www.masscensusequity.org/ for outreach materials and post to social media using the hashtag #MassCounts to add your organization’s voice to a growing movement.
- Connect with Complete Count Committees. Complete Count Committees are established by local governments and community leaders to organize local and regional efforts. Find your nearest committee by checking with the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Census Division https://www.sec.state.ma.us/census2020.
- Contact your legislators. Policymakers on Beacon Hill will be considering ways to support statewide outreach efforts. Please contact your state elected officials and urge them to support a state-level appropriation to ensure a complete count in 2020.
Historically, certain populations are undercounted: urban and rural areas with large low-income populations, people of color, immigrants, non-English speakers, young children, the elderly, renters, and the homeless. While thoughtful preparation for the Census is always important, 2020 poses a unique set of challenges that make proactive participation in outreach efforts more important than ever. Concerns about the 2020 Census include the first all-digital count, insufficient federal funding, and a climate of fear in immigrant communities that is compounded by the possible inclusion of a citizenship question.
Philanthropy Massachusetts helped ignite the Mass Census Equity Fund. In addition to serving as fiscal sponsor of the Fund, we worked to ensure the creation of a generous, $1 million Fund; participate in the Fund’s advisory group; and reviewed incoming grant applications from community based organizations across the state. Most importantly, we connect the Fund to all our constituencies: grantmakers and nonprofits alike. With a broad coalition carrying the message about the importance of participating in the Census, we can have a significant impact that will carry our Commonwealth into the next decade.
If you have any questions or would like more information about the 2020 Census, please don’t hesitate to Jeff Poulos, CEO of Philanthropy Massachusetts or Katie Campbell Simons, Project Consultant at Mass Census Equity Fund at firstname.lastname@example.org.