As members of the California Census 2020 Statewide Funders’ Initiative, we commend the U.S. Supreme Court for blocking the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Though not the final word, this ruling is an initial victory for democracy and a fair and accurate count of all Californians. Including the citizenship question in the 2020 census would put California—the state with the highest share of immigrants—at risk of a severe undercount.
Amid this uncertainty, investing in efforts to achieve a complete count remains critical. Our foundations have collectively invested $15 million to date—and plan to invest at least another $15 million—to ensure that all hard-to-count communities will be counted. Given the climate of fear, encouraging immigrants and their families to participate in this census will continue to be a challenge. It is essential to invest in trusted community-based organizations to deliver messages that resonate with specific immigrant communities. As a statewide funders’ table, we will continue to coordinate and strategize with one another, with the California Census Office, and with key stakeholders in the non-profit, public, and private sectors.
We call on all California funders to take action as the 2020 census quickly approaches. If you have funded the census, consider making additional grants to educate communities about the Court’s ruling and address lingering concerns. You could also fund efforts to reach a hard-to-count population that aligns with your funding priorities or support ongoing litigation and advocacy. If you have not funded the census, we invite you to learn more, join our table, and make an investment.
The census is a critical cornerstone of our democracy. Every grantmaking entity has a stake in making sure the 2020 census is a success given the lasting impact it will have on our state, particularly in marginalized and disenfranchised communities. We invite you to join us as we move forward to ensure a fair and accurate count.