New York State Census Equity Fund Awards $1.4M to CBOs for 2020 Outreach
December 5, 2019
The New York State Census Equity Fund—of which Brooklyn Community Foundation is a Steering Committee member—has announced its second round of grants, totaling $1,437,000, to 56 organizations to support efforts across the state to reach hard-to-count communities in the 2020 Census.
In New York City, the fund is supporting 10 community-based nonprofits at $344,000 total:
- Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services*
- Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York+
- La Colmena
- Mekong NYC
- Neighbors Together*
- Ocean Bay Community Development Corp
- Street Vendor Project+
- Yemeni American Merchants Association*
- Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice
- United Community Centers*
Brooklyn Community Foundation joined the New York State Census Equity Fund in 2018 as part of a coordinated effort by foundations across the state to direct funds to hard-to-count communities. Brooklyn (Kings County) is considered the hardest-to-count country in all of New York State, with over 80% of Brooklynites living in hard-to-count neighborhoods. Brooklyn is also home to nearly half of the 500 census tracts in New York state most at-risk of an undercount. Moreover, in the 2010 Census, 33% of Brooklyn households did not mail back their census forms—the lowest mail return rate in the country among counties that have populations greater than 500,000.
A fair and accurte count in 2020 is critical to the future of our borough. Census data inform the allocation of federal funds, the apportionment of elected representatives, and the redistricting of state and federal election districts. When the data are inaccurate and biased in favor of certain demographics, undercounted communities lose out on crucial investments in their schools, public transit, healthcare, and much more.
In addition to grant funding to trusted local nonprofits, the Fund is helping coordinate census-related efforts with other foundations, with the business community, and with appropriate government entities. Earlier this year, the Fund distributed grants totaling more than $600,000 for organizing and education activities in specific regions or with specific kinds of organizations. Those included grants to the New York Immigration Coalition, Partnership for the Public Good, Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, Asian American Federation, New York Civic Engagement Table, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism CUNY Foundation, and The New School’s Digital Equity Lab.
The Fund is led by a steering committee comprised of ten foundations and one funder coalition from across the state, including:
- Brooklyn Community Foundation
- Central New York Community Foundation
- Charles H. Revson Foundation
- Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes
- Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
- Dyson Foundation
- Engage New York
- Long Island Community Foundation
- The New York Community Trust
- New York Foundation