Key Takeaways – What Funders Need to Know About Census 2020 Operations

What Funders Need to Know About Census 2020 Operations

Tuesday, June 5th at 3pm-4pm ET | 2pm-3pm CT | 1pm-2pm MT | 12pm-1pm PT

Census 2020 is less than two years away; the time to act is now! Planning has started for a “Get Out The Count” campaign to reach hard-to-count populations in the communities you care about. What key information do you need to guide your investments in support of a fair and accurate count in 2020?


During this webinar, funders will learn about:

  • 2020 Census operational timeline, including changes to census methods and field infrastructure
  • Procedures for counting vulnerable individuals who are homeless, transitory, or living in group facilities and rural and tribal communities
  • How funders can engage with and support local and state government Complete Count Committees

Cosponsors: Chesapeake Bay Funders, Environmental Grantmakers Association, Forefront, Funders for Reproductive Equity, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, Grantmakers Council of Rhode Island, Grantmakers In Health, Grantmakers Income Security Taskforce, Hispanics in Philanthropy, NY Funder Alliance, Philanthropy CA, Philanthropy New York, Philanthropy Northwest, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders, United Philanthropy Forum

Moderated by Tara Westman, The California Endowment


  • Sol Marie Alfonso Jones, Long Island Community Foundation
  • Jeri Green, National Urban League
  • Terri Ann Lowenthal, Consultant to FCI

Key Takeaways

Key Operations

  • Key 2018 Milestones- Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA), reviews conclude, the six regional centers are open, and hiring ongoing for partnership program.
  • Key 2019 Milestones- Area Census Offices open, recruit field staff for major operations, and communications campaign starts, in-field address canvassing + hiring of 76K address listers.
  • Key 2020 Facts – Census does not start on April 1! Self-response by internet, phone, and paper questionnaire starts in mid-March. Follow-up visits to unresponsive homes starts May 13. Census takers will drop off materials to many rural and all remote and Indian reservation homes.
  • Monitoring the success of the census – the Bureau will measure progress in terms of percent of households that answer the census. The self-response rate is the percent of all addresses that answer the census by internet, phone, or paper questionnaire.

Partnering with the Census Bureau

  • Get to know your regional office team and structure – Look to Regional Census Centers for leadership and guidance, and Area Census Offices are ground zero for getting out the count. Contact the Regional Director for your assigned state now, to introduce yourself and identify a Partnership Specialist with who to engage.
  • Census Bureau has reached out to states to support with infrastructure; 48 states have said they will create statewide complete count commissions. As states consider how to create these, it is essential that they reflect the population and lean on community organizations
  • Contact your state complete count committee now! If none exist, ask your locally elected congressperson to create one
  • There are many paths to engage the Census Bureau for an accurate count; sign up now at to become a 2020 Census Partner.

Funder Engagement at the State Level to Support Census Operations

  • Key Questions: How can we as funders be supportive of census operations? How do we prepare for partnership with the Census Bureau?
  • Lessons learned from Long Island Community Foundation’s engagement in 2010 – In 2009, started working on the census with other regional funders. The financial crisis was crippling their communities, unprecedented levels of ICE raids, and trust in the government was low. We targeted hard to count communities in our response and many of the groups they funded became partners in local complete count committees. Complete count committees got great in-kind donations, including op-eds into local papers, ad space on buses, materials in hospitals, etc.
  • Funder engagement in NY include working with state government to create the Complete Count Commission, partnering with the regional associations to convene funders across the state on importance of census and how they can engage. On Long Island, engaging the business community, nonprofits and both county governments to create local Complete Count Committees to target outreach to hard to count areas.
  • New York Community Trust (parent organization of LICF) established the New York State Grantmakers for Census Equity and Pooled Fund.