78 foundations have invested $30 million, but hundreds haven’t yet engaged.
Funders and leading national activists recently gathered at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., for the Stand Up For the Count 2020 Census Summit to explore the challenges we face in ensuring an accurate count and to share solutions.
Kudos to the 78 foundations (listed below) that have already invested a collective $30 million in the national effort and the many other funders that are supporting state and local work.
I urge the rest of the nation’s foundations to get involved and put some money into this important initiative.
As Vanita Gupta of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights wrote in “Philanthropy and the 2020 census: A once-in-a-decade chance to get it right,” every issue that foundations care about is affected by the census – from education and health care to rural development and veterans’ services. Communities that have been historically marginalized are especially at risk of being under-counted.
Generally, I’ve been impressed with philanthropy’s engagement thus far with the 2020 census:
But census funders say they need an additional $35 million to support national efforts to reach hard-to-count populations and encourage them to participate, and for a Census Equity Fund that will provide grants to hard-to-count areas in states where there is limited philanthropy.
Even more funding is needed at the state and local levels. The goal is to make sure everyone gets counted.
Nonprofits will do media campaigns in multiple languages, along with door-to-door outreach and other high-touch engagement strategies.
As I reviewed the list of funders participating with this funder collaborative thus far, several large national foundations were conspicuously and disappointingly missing such as Bloomberg Philanthropies, The MacArthur Foundation, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Walton Family Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation.
Also not on the list are large regional funders like Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, William Penn Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Houston Endowment, Daniels Fund, Duke Endowment, Richard King Mellon Foundation, The Brown Foundation and The Heinz Endowments.
Every single community foundation in the nation should also be a part of this effort, yet I only see a handful of them on the list.
Given the missions of these grantmakers, why aren’t they engaged? Word is that Houston Endowment, The Heinz Endowments and Schusterman Family Foundation are in discussions and will soon come on board, but what about the others?
I realize that it’s possible some of these funders are indeed doing census-related funding and they just haven’t connected yet with the national effort. I really hope that’s the case.
There is no more time to waste. Philanthropy can play a meaningful role in helping to ensure the 2020 census produces an accurate count. To succeed, foundations large and small need to get engaged now, before the end of the year.
If you’re considering being a part of this important effort, reach out directly to one of the leaders I mentioned above, or join a conference call to be hosted by Darren Walker and Gary Bass on Oct. 30, 2018, to learn how you can get involved.
Aaron Dorfman is president and CEO of NCRP. Follow @NCRP on Twitter.
Kudos to these foundations that have invested in the census
Access Strategies Fund
Albuquerque Community Foundation
Annie E. Casey Foundation, The
Bauman Foundation, The
Berger Action Fund
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Blue Shield of California Foundation
Boston Foundation, The
Butler Family Fund
California Community Foundation
California Endowment, The
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Chicago Community Trust, The
Claneil Foundation, The
Con Alma Health Foundation
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
David & Lucile Packard Foundation, The
East Bay Community Foundation
First Five LA
Four Freedoms Fund
Fund for New Jersey, The
Gold Bay Foundation
Grove Foundation, The
Hyams Foundation, The
Irving Harris Foundation
James Irvine Foundation, The
Joyce Foundation, The
JPB Foundation, The
Klarman Family Foundation, The
Kresge Foundation, The
Latino Community Foundation
Marguerite Casey Foundation
McCune Charitable Foundation
Miami Foundation, The
New York Community Trust, The
Open Society Foundations
Philadelphia Foundation, The
Pittsburgh Foundation, The
Polk Bros. Foundation
Present Progressive Fund
Rhode Island Foundation
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
Roth Family Foundations
S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
Samuel S. Fels Fund
San Francisco Foundation, The
Santa Fe Community Foundation
Sapelo Foundation, The
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Taos Community Foundation
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Wallace H. Coulter Foundation
Wellspring Philanthropic Fund
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
WKF Giving Fund