Funders Census Initiative (FCI) 2020

The constitutionally-mandated decennial census is a cornerstone of our democracy. Accurate census data are essential for the fair distribution of political representation and the equitable allocation of more than $800 billion in annual federal assistance to states, communities, and families. Yet historically, the census has disproportionate undercounted people of color, immigrants, young children, and low-income households.

The 2020 Census faces unprecedented challenges, including:

  • Significant population growth among many historically hard-to-count (HTC) populations; 
  • Increasingly complex and less formal living arrangements; 
  • Cyber-security threats and the digital divide of the first high-tech census;
  • Federal funding constraints, resulting in canceled tests and scaled back preparations; 
  • Mistrust and fear of government, particularly among historically HTC communities. 

Although philanthropy cannot and should not supplant the government’s responsibility to conduct a fair and accurate census, funder support of the census is more important than ever.

The Funders Census Initiative 2020 (FCI), a working group of the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation (FCCP), is helping to mobilize philanthropic engagement towards a fair and accurate 2020 Census through outreach, education, resource development, and technical assistance. 

FCI 2020 supports grantmakers by:

  • Providing forums for funders to learn, strategize and plan together including webinars, briefings, convening sessions and in-person meetings
  • Developing and distributing census timelines, updates, fact sheets, analyses, and resources to inform your work
  • Monitoring Census Bureau progress and tracking legislative issues which could impact a fair and accurate count

By supporting grantmaker engagement in the census, FCI works to achieve a democracy where traditionally marginalized communities have equal access to participation and decision-making in the democratic process. 

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Money in Politics (MIP)

Many believe that the voice of everyday people is undermined by the influence of money in our political system. FCCP’s Money in Politics Working Group addresses this issue by providing a critical hub for grantmakers seeking to better understand the money-in-politics field, explore how it intersects with civic engagement issues, and discuss strategies being advanced by advocates on the ground. We provide an ideal space for funders to share information, engage in strategic discussion, and receive tools to inform grantmaking strategies.

In addition, MIP:

  • Builds philanthropic knowledge through funder-driven webinars, convening sessions and strategy meetings
  • Breaks down issue silos by helping grantmakers connect money in politics to their grantmaking
  • Advises and supports programming organized in other philanthropic spaces and collaborates with affinity group partners

As a working group member, you will join a diverse community of funders who work together to explore challenges and opportunities, and ultimately engage in more robust, strategic and effective money-in-politics grantmaking.

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Research + Experimentation (R + E)

The R + E working group unites civic engagement funders interested in helping grantees better utilize quality research to strengthen their effectiveness when engaging in civic participation activities. We identify the gaps, needs and opportunities around the research priorities of civic engagement funders, and we provide programming to educate our broader democracy network about important topics, findings and innovations.

R + E was created by funders to:

  • Build a shared understanding of civic engagement research and experiments
  • Develop best practices that guide how to conduct projects and measure impact
  • Promote funding for research targeted toward making our democracy work better for everyone
  • Disseminate the learnings more widely within the civic engagement field

As a working group member, you will engage in an open space where funders, experts and organizations can share new learnings, discuss research priorities and have deeper, collaborative discussions around how to best support our common goals.

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State Infrastructure Funders Table (SIFT)

The State Infrastructure Funders Table (SIFT) provides a home at FCCP for civic engagement funders to invest in a stronger democracy and broader civic engagement in the states. SIFT knows that for our democracy to work nationwide, it must work in each and every state. Because each state is unique – from electoral systems to demographics to non-profit landscape –  the best-informed people to lead lasting change are those who call that state home.

Together through SIFT we:

  • Foster better alignment of national and state funding
  • Develop metrics that push the community to align resources for short- and long-term impact
  • Build relationships among civic engagement grantmakers and between funders and the field
  • Seek ways to align resources to achieve short- and long-term impact.

SIFT envisions a nonpartisan sector where funders follow in-state leaders: collaborating and aligning their investments to build the democratic infrastructure that can strengthen civic participation and win real change in people’s lives.

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