Philanthropy Plays Key Role in Northwest 2020 Census Efforts

Philanthropy Plays Key Role in Northwest 2020 Census Efforts

Mother and young son bonding

Philanthropy Northwest members across the region are steeped in 2020 Census efforts, leading and partnering in different strategies to ensure a full count of diverse communities across their states. Since the 2020 Census is beginning soon, we wanted to highlight some of the amazing census work that our members are a part of in each state in our region.

In Alaska, the Alaska Counts campaign, organized by the cross-sector Alaska Census Working Group (including working group convener The Foraker Group and Alaska Airlines, Cook Inlet Housing Authority, Mat-Su Health Foundation and Rasmuson Foundation), launched a mini-grant program to give up to $250 on a rolling basis to organizations to do creative local census outreach. To date, grants have gone to 24 organizations for projects ranging from a school census poster design contest, to census stickers and buttons, to pizza parties and “Every Head Counts” branded winter hats. Alaska Counts has also recently received funding from Mat-Su Health Foundation, Alaska Community Foundation and Alaska Children’s Trust to support the campaign’s infrastructure, conduct focused census outreach to specific hard-to-count groups and expand the mini-grant program. Alaska Counts has received funds sub-granted by the Native American Rights Fund for critical translation of materials into Alaska Native languages, and the campaign will soon launch a translation-specific mini-grant opportunity for Alaska Native languages not covered by the Census Bureau. Other Alaska Counts efforts include public service announcements in Alaska Native languages and English that will soon be on radio stations across the state, a postcard mailer to over 60,000 P.O. box holders, a nonprofit census toolkit and an upcoming Census Champion toolkit.

In December 2019, the Idaho Community Foundation (ICF), in partnership with the Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF), granted $100,000 for 2020 Census outreach to 11 organizations and tribes in Idaho. NWAF provided funding support for the grants and ICF sought proposals and selected recipients. The grants will reach hard-to-count populations in 30 of Idaho’s 44 counties.

To fill funding gaps and ensure hard-to-count communities in Montana get counted, Montana Community Foundation granted $40,000 to the Montana Nonprofit Association (MNA). This funding allows MNA to hire a 2020 Census Coordinator who will specifically work with nonprofits to reach these populations. Additionally, MNA and Western Native Voice are leading coordinated efforts with the state’s census staff, and the state’s complete count committee has relaunched a new and improved website. Across the state’s Native reservations, Native organizations are working to reach communities by distributing pledge cards that individuals will fill out and receive back in the spring to remind them about the census.

In Oregon, the Census Equity Funders Committee of Oregon (CEFCO) – a collaborative of philanthropic organizations working to reach hard-to-count communities for the 2020 Census – is partnering with public agencies toward a goal of $10 million in pooled and aligned funds to support coordinated, statewide, culturally relevant engagement. CEFCO continues to welcome new partnerships to reach this goal. In December, CEFCO closed an RFP to award approximately $2 million in funding for Census Assistance Centers (CACs) serving hard-to-count populations across the state, to support CACs’ work as on-the-ground resources for communities. CEFCO representatives also serve on the state’s complete count committee, which launched its website this month.

Outside of their collaboration through the Washington Census Equity Fund, at least half of Equity Fund partners in Washington are engaged in census efforts in their localities – from developing relationships with community partners, to implementing complete count strategies, to making direct grants. To support hard-to-count communities across the state, the Washington Census Alliance – a statewide coalition of organizations led by and serving communities of color – held a two-day summit in November 2019 for training and strategic collaboration, and Washington Nonprofits has created a robust Census Action Kit.

Wyoming Community Foundation (WYCF) is partnering with the state library system to promote libraries as a census hub for Wyoming. WYCF created posters and bookmarks that the Wyoming State Library has distributed to each county and community college library in the state. WYCF is also developing a public service announcement on the 2020 Census that will be aired on cable tv and promoted online this spring. Other outreach in mailings and newsletters, including in partnership with Wyoming Nonprofit Network, is ensuring that census information reaches low-income households and families with young children.

Visit Philanthropy Northwest’s 2020 Census webpage for continuing updates on resources and partnerships across our region, and contact us if you have additional information we can share.