Change is only possible when every one of us can stand up and be counted.
Once per decade, the U.S. Constitution requires the count of every living person in the nation. The results of this count help ensure that federal funds go to populations in need.
Funding for schools, hospitals, public transit, and vital programs such as Medicaid and Head Start are heavily shaped by census data. In 2015, 80 percent of California’s federal funding was tied to the census. The count also defines our voice, determining the apportionment of Congressional seats.
L.A. County is the nation’s hardest-to-count region.
Nearly half our residents meet the hard-to-count criteria, including racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, mixed-status families, young children and the homeless. For the first time, the census will be principally administered online, creating major concerns around privacy and digital literacy. The proposed citizenship question leaves many immigrant communities suspicious of how their information will be used. Compounding these issues is anticipation that bad actors will emerge to suppress participation.
The California Community Foundation is working with community and government partners to ensure that no Angeleno goes uncounted. This will require unprecedented coordination, collaboration and resources. We formed the We Count L.A. 2020 Fund with $8.4 million in funding from the State of California and support from Weingart Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, Ballmer Group, the California Endowment, the Libra Foundation and committed donors.
Our goal is to raise $20 million in investments to create and implement the most effective strategies, including:.
- REGIONAL COORDINATION, PLANNING & OUTREACH: Community-based organizations are trusted ambassadors among hard-to-count communities. We will support activities such as door-to-door canvassing, phone banking and community education efforts to increase participation. In partnership with the Los Angeles Regional Census Table, we engage local nonprofits around planning, outreach, training and communications needs.
- COMMUNICATIONS: Communities need accurate information that motivates them to participate. We’re working to launch an integrated communications campaign to support our community partners, convey a unified effort and create clear and compelling messages promoting participation and dispel suppression efforts.
- EVALUATION: Census 2020 will be the most complex ever undertaken. Evaluation efforts should mirror this complexity, breaking from traditional models and utilizing innovative approaches. We’re partnering with experts to measure the campaign’s successes and challenges so our partners can learn valuable lessons and models for engagement.
Participation in the census is our right and our responsibility, and our ability to advance positive social change is strengthened through collaboration.
To join with CCF in ensuring that every Angeleno is counted, please click the button below or contact Stephania Ramirez, Director of Strategic Initiatives.