Funders Census Initiative (FCI) 2020

Accurate census data are essential for the fair distribution of political representation at the national, state and local levels, and for the prudent, equitable allocation of government resources. More than $600 billion annually in federal assistance to states, localities, and families is distributed based on census data. Yet historically, the census has missed disproportionate numbers of racial minorities, immigrants, young children and the poor, leading to inequality in political power and in access to public funding and private investment for these communities.

The 2020 Census is facing unprecedented challenges — a leadership void at the Census Bureau; insufficient funding, resulting in canceled tests and scaled back preparations; cybersecurity threats (real and perceived) and the digital divide, as the first high-tech census rolls out; and community reluctance and fear of sharing information with the government.

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

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 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

In 2010, FCI helped mobilize over $34 million in philanthropic support nationwide for the census. Increased grantmaking support and earlier investment is critical in the lead-up to the 2020 Census, as the road is filled with both challenges and opportunities that will influence vital decisions and determine the inclusiveness of the count. For more information and resources, please click “learn more.”

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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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