Oregon was underprepared to ensure a complete count in the 2020 Census. An undercount could reduce funding and representation for hard-to-count populations like rural communities and people of color, as well as put a projected additional congressional seat in jeopardy. The United Way of the Columbia-Willamette and the Northwest Health Foundation, along with 15 other funders, created the Census Equity Funders Committee of Oregon (CEFCO) in 2018. They pitched in funding for census work and convinced the State of Oregon and City of Portland to pool resources into their single campaign, which totaled nearly $10 million. This Oregon Bright Spot details the story of this partnership that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, led to achieving a self-response participation rate in the 2020 Census that approximately matched the previous census.
This report is for philanthropic foundation investment committees exploring racial, gender and social equity issues. We distilled some key process and decision points that committees encounter, based on interviews with trustees, CEOs and finance staff, along with foundation financial advisors and advocacy groups. A diverse set of experts reviewed and expanded on the ideas.