California Counts! Statewide 2010 Census Coordination

GCIR Releases Evaluation Report

The California Counts! Census Campaign detailed in this report provides a roadmap for how foundations and affinity groups can support the next Census in 2020. More immediately, it provides lessons learned and reflections regarding funder collaboration and the role of affinity groups in catalyzing and supporting such collaboration. It also explores how a network approach to collaboration can advance philanthropic efforts, spark innovation, and increase impact.

Download California Counts! 2010 Census Campaign: A Network Approach to Funder Collaboration.

GCIR Releases Funders Guide

Foundation support is vital to achieve a fair and accurate count. This funders' guide provides an overview of the 2010 census, summarizes the challenges to achieving an accurate count, and describes funding strategies for reaching populations that have historically been undercounted.

Download California Counts! A Funders' Guide to the 2010 Census.

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The Need for a Coordinated Funding Strategy

With its diverse population, California faces many challenges in achieving an accurate census count. Ten of the top fifty "hard-to-count" counties in the country are in California, and nearly 25 percent of the nation's undocumented population resides in the state. Unlike 2000, when the state allocated $24.7 million to encourage residents to complete the Census questionnaire, there are virtually no state or local public resources to support the 2010 Census. Philanthropic funding, therefore, is critical to support community-based efforts to reach the state's hard-to-count populations. In the current economic downturn, foundation dollars, too, are limited. To help make the best use of limited resources, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) is coordinating California Counts!, a statewide philanthropic effort to improve the Census count. We have identified regions in the state with the largest hard-to-count populations and are coordinating grantmaking to ensure that resources are directed to areas with high needs and to avoid duplicative efforts.

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The Importance of an Accurate Census Count

The U.S. Constitution requires that all residents (including non-citizens and undocumented residents) be counted every ten years through a nationwide census. A fair and accurate census count is vitally important for many reasons.

  • Census data directly determine the allocation of federal funding. Federal dollars are apportioned to local communities across the state for health, education, social services, transportation, and other programs, based on census data. For each person not counted, $11,449.80 in federal funding over the next ten years will be lost.
  • Census data also determine the local allocation of resources. County-level census data determine the distribution of funding within the state and inform decisions on where to invest in roads, hospitals, and businesses as well as schools, elderly care, and workforce training. Local governments, foundations, and businesses also use census data to set their priorities.
  • The census count impacts our political influence. Political representation at the federal, state, and local levels is determined based on census data, and with the 2008 passage of Proposition 11 in California, the census count will inform redistricting decisions affecting local communities. Census data also shape the implementation of federal regulations (e.g., provisions of federal equal employment and fair housing regulations). Finally, civil rights advocates use census data to measure compliance with policies. If communities most affected by civil rights laws were disproportionately undercounted in the 2010 census, ensuring full civil rights protections for everyone will be even more difficult.

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Mapping Hard-to-Count Communities:

Hard-to-Count (HTC) populations are groups that may have a higher non-response rate on the 2010 Census. With support from The California Endowment, Healthy Cities has generated a portal through which Census stakeholders may locate communities at risk for undercounting in California.

Start mapping your HTC communities now!

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Resources Available from GCIR

Through California Counts!, GCIR produced materials, compiled data, and provided staff support that helped interested foundations:

  • Understand how an accurate Census advances grantmaking goals. GCIR can connect you to data and other resources to make a strong case within your foundation for supporting Census activities, especially if your priority populations have been historically undercounted.
  • Learn about successful strategies used in the past, identify challenges for Census 2010, and understand the lay of the land in terms of hard-to-count populations in your community, interested organizations and funders, and general strategies for increasing Census participation.
  • Keep informed about the Census Bureau's plans so that foundations can help leverage public resources and fill gaps. The Bureau has substantial staff and outreach resources for Census 2010. But its ability to reach hard-to-count populations depends on its partnerships with community organizations, leaders and other trusted messengers. Philanthropic support to CBOs can help build such partnerships, leverage federal funding, and implement strategies to increase Census participation among hard-to-count populations.
  • Stay informed of Census policy issues and operational developments. GCIR created an online forum through its California Immigrant Integration Initiative (CIII) that provided regular Census updates. The Funder Census Initiative, coordinated by the Funders' Committee for Civic Participation, also has a Census listserv that addresses national issues.

For more information about these resources and how to access them, contact Felecia Bartow.

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Best Practices from 2000:

For information on which organizations engaged in Census outreach activities in 2000 and to find best practices from the last Census, learn more in the State's evaluative report, "Counting All Californians: An Analysis of Outreach Effectiveness."

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