2020 Census Day Statement from Philanthropy California and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Today is Census Day!

The time to ensure the count is here! The 2020 Census has faced many challenges — the attempt to include an untested citizenship question, delays in funding, and now the untold impact of COVID-19.

In California, philanthropy has mobilized over $26 million in the past two years to support Census 2020. Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) has been overseeing the California Census 2020 Statewide Funders' Initiative that strives to count the hard-to-count populations, as well as support a robust movement infrastructure to improve opportunities for historically marginalized Californians. Northern California Grantmakers, Southern California Grantmakers, and San Diego Grantmakers have been coordinating regional funder efforts. Our four organizations thank every funder who has supported the Census and dedicated their time and resources to ensure that community-based organizations are prepared, connected, and activated.

We stand strong with our community-based partners across the state who have been building up to this critical stage. A key strategy of grassroots outreach to ensure a fair and accurate Census count includes in-person, door-to-door outreach of hard-to-count populations. In the wake of COVID-19, partners are now working tirelessly to find new and innovative ways to reach those hardest to count. To ensure our state’s resilience and prosperity, it is imperative that philanthropy steps up to support a complete and accurate count of every Californian.

Our Call to Action:

A complete and accurate Census amid a global pandemic requires nimbleness, flexibility, and innovation from funders and grantees alike. To this end, we encourage funders to:

  • Work with grantees to revise current grants, reporting timelines, and other requirements.
  • Provide emergency funding for Census outreach.
  • Encourage digital organizing and outreach.
  • Share tools and resources from other Census leads.

As organizations respond to the evolving needs of our communities, we also urge you to consider increasing, extending, or investing for the first time in the Census.

  • Connect with your regional association to ask about local efforts and how you can get involved.
  • Reach out to GCIR on state-level efforts and remain connected on all things Census.
  • Learn about how the philanthropic community is taking action and tracking Census progress by reaching out to the Funders Census Initiative.

While no one could have predicted how rapidly the COVID-19 global health crisis would change our lives, we are grateful to those who continue to mobilize resources for the safety and future of our communities.

And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to fill out your own Census! By now, most households have received an invitation by mail from the Census Bureau to fill out the 2020 Census online. Let's continue to lead the efforts and encourage our colleagues, family, and friends to participate in the count.

Stay strong, healthy, and resilient!

Christine Essel
President & CEO, Southern California Grantmakers

Steve Barton & Phuong Quach
Acting Co-CEOs, Northern California Grantmakers

Debbie McKeon
President & CEO, San Diego Grantmakers

Daranee Petsod
President, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees