Community Foundations Lead Push for Census Outreach in New York State

New Yorkers have a lot to lose if its population is undercounted in the 2020 Census.

But a group of foundations led by the New York Community Trust is calling on the state to join them in funding an outreach effort targeted at helping ensure traditionally undercounted communities are fully counted.

The foundations have created the New York State Census Equity Fund, which aims to raise and direct more than $3 million from foundation and individual donors to trusted nonprofits to ensure New York’s hardest to count populations are properly represented.

And they’re now asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to join the effort.

Flickr Creative Commons  photo by Jeremy W. Osborne.

Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jeremy W. Osborne.

In a letter signed by more than a dozen foundations, they are requesting at least $60 million in state support to help ensure a more accurate count.

“We have the power to change these grave predictions through coordinated work by government, philanthropy, nonprofits, and the business community—and by making targeted investments to ensure that every resident in every county in New York is counted,” the letter states.

“Unfortunately, our financial investment and collective voice will only go so far without appropriate support from New York State.”

The foundations noted the success of a 2010 outreach effort that helped improve Census response rates in 19 of the 23 tracts on Long Island — including a dramatic 21 percent increase in Central Islip.

In addition to the New York Community Trust, the letter is signed by a number of community foundations across New York state. They include:

  • Adirondack Foundation

  • Brooklyn Community Foundation

  • Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

  • Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes

  • Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan

  • Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley

  • Long Island Community Foundation

  • Rochester Area Community Foundation

  • Westchester Community Foundation