Funding Available to Make Sure Your Community Counts in the 2020 Census

Filed Under: Census 2020 - Posted @ 10:18am

GTCF to Award $400,000 in Grants to Pierce County organizations for 2020 Census Outreach 


Lifelong Tillicum resident Jonathan Jackson knows firsthand how some Pierce County communities struggle to obtain good schools, roads, even sidewalks. That’s what prompted him to join the You Count Campaign, a collective of Pierce County organizations that recognize the importance of a complete and accurate census count for the well-being of our community – in 2020 and beyond.

The 2020 census is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to inform data that directly affects everyone in Pierce County. Decisions about transportation, businesses, funding, and political representation are driven by census data. But certain communities and populations have been undercounted at higher rates in past census counts.

Jonathan Jackson, executive director of Palmer Scholars, with recent graduates

“We need to address barriers to participation by marginalized communities,” says Jonathan Jackson, “There is distrust of government and skepticism about whether the census will actually result in investment in their communities.”

As executive director of Palmer Scholars, which mentors high school and college scholars, Jackson wants to engage students in the census outreach effort, in collaboration with other local groups, “We will focus on the Tillicum, Woodbrook, and Parkland areas.”

He plans to apply for a census outreach grant from Greater Tacoma Community Foundation (GTCF) to support the Palmer Scholars’ effort.

$400,000 in state grant funds from the Office of Financial Management are available for regranting through GTCF. Tribes, local government, organizations, associations, coalitions, and collaborative networks with trusted relationship in hard-to-count communities are encouraged to apply for the grant funds to support outreach and communications about the 2020 Census.

Grants must serve at least one of these historically undercounted groups in Pierce County:

  • Children (0-5 years)
  • Immigrants and Refugees
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Low-income
  • Non-English Speakers
  • People of Color
  • Persons Experiencing Homelessness
  • Persons with Mental or Physical Disabilities
  • Renters (housing)
  • Rural Communities
  • Senior Citizens (over 65 years)
  • Those Attending Postsecondary Institutions
  • Young Persons (under 18 years)

“Every community is unique. Local organizations, networks, and associations who already have relationships with those groups can best share relevant and relatable information about the importance of census participation,” said Janece Levien, GTCF program officer. “We’ve prioritized making the application process as simple and straightforward as possible. We encourage organizations to build on the great work they are already doing by including census information with their regular mission work.”

Agencies applying individually are eligible for a maximum $10,000 grant. Networks, collaborations, and partnerships are eligible to apply for, and receive, grants over $10,000.

“We strongly encourage organizations to collaborate,” said Levien. “The whole idea is to amplify community voices and impact.”

Timeline for grant awards

  • Grant applications are due to GTCF by Friday, Nov, 1, 2019, 5:00 p.m.
  • Grantees will be announced on Thursday, Nov. 21.
  • GTCF will host a grantee reception on Thursday, Dec. 5.
  • Money will be distributed Dec. 15 and must be spent by April 30, 2020. (Census count begins April 1, 2020).

“These grants are flexible and meant to engage people in the ways work best for their community,” said Levien. Examples of activities grants can fund include:

  • Hosting meetings and open houses where the Census is promoted (grants can pay for refreshments, etc.)
  • Paying for staff supporting Census outreach activities
  • Purchasing customized Census promotional items, including T-shirts, buttons, etc.
  • Printing and translation of materials
  • Paying for interpreters
  • Social media posts relevant to Hard to Count Communities (boosted advertising)
  • Hosting sessions with online access to help people fill out the Census

A communications toolkit in 11 languages and other resources is currently available on the Pierce County website.

Rebecca Rossi, development director of Tacoma’s Rainbow Center, was one of 14 leaders from non-profit organizations who attended a recent information session on the census grants.

“We’re interested in having our LGBTQIA community participate,” Rossi said. “We serve a lot of people with intersecting identities. An LGBTQIA person may also be a person of color or undocumented. We want to make sure people feel safe and secure in responding to the census.”

“It’s about meeting people where they are,” said Jonathan Jackson of Palmer Scholars. “Too often, we expect people to come to us instead of us going to them.”

Start your application for 2020 Census Community Grants, and read more about the opportunity, at GTCF’s Census Grant page.