4 Big Foundations Commit $20 Million to Promote the Census

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Leaders of four of the nation’s most prominent philanthropies have committed $20 million in new money to a $43 million effort to ensure a complete and accurate tally in the 2020 census — and are publicly calling on their philanthropy peers to provide an additional $10 million for a total of $73 million.

In a rare open letter to other grant makers, the chief executives of the Ford, JPB, Kellogg, and Open Society foundations note that more money is needed to complete a planned "massive and coordinated" campaign designed to ensure everyone is counted.

In particular, they want to help census takers reach out to those who often do not participate, including immigrants, Native Americans, the poor, and residents of rural areas.

The foundation leaders noted that an accurate census is key to many of the missions philanthropies seek to advance. It is a key element not only in apportioning legislative representation but also in influencing where more than $800 billion in federal grants and other spending go.

"In short, a lot is at stake," the foundation leaders said in their letter.