One year from now the 2020 Census will be in full swing. This nationwide, constitutionally-mandated count, conducted once every ten years, is our opportunity to ensure that New Jersey residents are accurately counted to secure the resources needed to support our communities. Nationally, more than $800 billion in federal funding as well as fair, proportional voting representation are at stake. In New Jersey, allocations from 16 federal programs including Medicaid, education grants, and even highway planning and construction are allotted based on the census count. This totaled over $17 billion in 2015.
But the 2020 Census is facing unprecedented challenges, including years of underfunding, a climate of fear, the challenges of the first “high tech” census, and the potential addition of an untested citizenship question. That means we will all have to work together to overcome these challenges and help achieve a fair and accurate census to ensure that the hardest-to-count communities—like people of color, low-income folks, LGBTQ people, immigrant communities, rural communities, and young children—aren’t missed. Based on the latest census estimates, approximately 22% of New Jersey’s population lives in hard-to-count areas.
CNJG joins the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation’s Funders Census Initiative, United Philanthropy Forum and philanthropy-serving organizations around the country in asking our members to commit to supporting and encouraging a fair and accurate census.
There are a number of ways members can support a full and accurate census:
- Join the Funders Census Initiative Working Group. As a working group member, you’ll have access to the core listserv for funders to connect on their work at the national, state and local levels. There is no cost, and you don’t need to be a FCCP member to join. You can also support their work virtually using the following hashtags: #CountPhilanthropyIn, #FCI2020, and #2020Census.
- Review the Funder Menu of Options created in partnership by United Philanthropy Forum and the Funders Census Initiative to help funders identify what they can to do.
- Join and share with your grantees Census Counts, a diverse, nationwide coalition working to #SaveTheCensus. You can also sign the pledge to be counted.
- Advocate and educate elected officials and community leaders on the importance and impact of the 2020 Census on their communities. Invite CNJG to join you at these meetings.
- Sign up with the Census Bureau to get the latest news and blogs; explore data and tools including Stats for Stories and America Counts Stories; and learn how your organization can partner with the Bureau to increase participation and raise awareness.
- Attend and encourage your grantees to attend the CNJG 2019 Conference for the Social Sector: Census 2020 – Defining the Next 10 Years on Tuesday, June 11. National and state experts will share information and tools to meet the many challenges communities across the state will face to be counted. The conference will help New Jersey’s social sector build capacity to meet the once-in-a-decade obligation to engage at the deepest level.
The Census is one of our nation’s most important and consequential civic obligations. Getting it right and counting everyone ensures people and communities can thrive.
Please feel free to reach out to me or Deputy Director Theresa Jacks for information about the Council’s work on behalf of a full, fair and accurate 2020 Census.
Maria Vizcarrondo, President and CEO
Council of New Jersey Grantmakers