Census Colleagues:

Today marks one year from the 2020 Census reference date. This has been an extraordinary census and we need to engage until the work is complete. That’s why today serves as an opportunity to reflect back on our efforts and start planning for the work ahead.

Looking Back 

Accurate census data are vital to help us understand the issues we care about and the communities we serve, and equitably distribute resources and political power for the decade. This is why FCCP’s Funders Census Initiative (FCI) exists—to educate and mobilize philanthropy around this critical work. This period of transformation in our movement towards racial equity and justice further emphasizes the importance of philanthropy’s ongoing engagement.

During this cycle, FCI grew to more than 500 grantmakers and philanthropy serving organizations. Nationally, as well as in 46 states, DC, and Puerto Rico, funders participated, convened, and invested in unprecedented ways. We were proud to co-lead this work in partnership with our Leadership Team, the Democracy Funders Census Subgroup, and the United Philanthropy Forum.

Here are a few results from the FCI evaluation survey that demonstrate our collective impact:

  • For 64% of respondents, the 2020 Census was the first time their institution engaged in or funded census work.

  • For 82% and 64% of respondents, their involvement with FCI deepened their organization’s commitment to the census and improved the impact of their census grantmaking, respectively.

  • 71% of respondents are working to maintain aspects of census infrastructure beyond the 2020 Census; 88% of respondents are interested in ongoing civic engagement/democracy issues.

Planning Ahead 

The census doesn’t end when the counting stops. There are important efforts around census data quality and mitigation strategies, communications and analyses around data releases, efforts to evaluate and archive 2020 learnings, the transition to redistricting, and 2030 planning. In fact, 2030 planning is already underway at the Census Bureau. If we want the Bureau to better center equity in the development of policies and operations, we must leverage philanthropy’s collective voice throughout the decade. If we want the Bureau to better center historically undercounted communities in the development of policies and operations, we must support and resource our practitioner partners well in advance of these decisions.

For these reasons, today FCI is releasing A Blueprint for Philanthropic Census Engagement. This new resource includes Census Bureau milestones and concrete examples of ways funders can engage and invest in census work throughout the decade. Your input on this resource is welcome. We will update it regularly to reflect changes in the infrastructure and census milestones.

If we want the legacy of the 2020 Census to be a more equitable and just democracy, we can’t stop now. We look forward to staying connected with you through the FCI listserv, as well as forthcoming discussions around evaluation, Census Bureau recommendations, release of the apportionment data, and data quality. As always, please reach out to FCCP with questions or to discuss your institution’s engagement.

In partnership,

Marcia Avner, Bauman Foundation
FCI Co-Chair
Sol Marie Alfonso Jones, Long Island Community Foundation

FCI Co-Chair