The census determines how more than $650 billion in federal funds for public education, public housing, roads and bridges, and more, are distributed annually throughout the country, as well as the number of seats each state is allocated in the House of Representatives (and thus, the Electoral College). Another undercount (like in 2010) could cost the State of New York up to two congressional seats, emphasizing the importance of a complete and accurate count of New York City.
An accurate 2020 Census count will decide whether New York gets it fair share of federal dollars–and seats in Congress.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and The City University of New York (CUNY) recently announced an unprecedented $19 million investment in local community-based organizations to engage in mass education and mobilization efforts around the 2020 Census.
This joint investment by the de Blasio Administration and the City Council marks New York City’s first-ever community awards program focused on census-related organizing and outreach, and the largest such investment by any city nationwide.
“New York City will not be intimidated. We must stand and be counted,” said Mayor de Blasio. “With the help of our partners and grassroots organizing, I’m confident we can mobilize all of New York City’s many communities and respond to next year’s census in record numbers.”
“Getting an accurate count in the upcoming census is critical for the future of our city, since it determines how hundreds of billions of federal dollars are distributed for basic services, including for hospitals, schools, roads, affordable housing, nutrition programs, and more,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “A complete count will also send a strong message to the Trump Administration, which is continuously attacking and trying to withhold resources from our diverse communities: We are not invisible and will not be intimidated. The Council is proud to contribute $10 million in funding for the community awards program, in addition to the nearly $4 million that we allocated to community-based groups doing census work in August. Partnering with community-based organizations who know their communities best will help us ensure that we get a complete and accurate count in the 2020 Census.”
“Without an accurate Census count, New Yorkers will be unable to receive our fair share of resources and access to economic opportunities,” said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “This historic investment in community-based census education and organizing will help dispel fear-mongering efforts by the Trump Administration designed to keep our immigrant communities – the backbone of our City – from participating. It will also ensure that we are engaging critically important but historically under-counted and under-represented communities in the Census by leveraging some of the most trusted voices within these communities.”
“The upcoming 2020 census is critical to the future of New York City,” said Julie Menin, Director of NYC Census 2020. “Our historic joint investment of $19 million for community-based organizations affirms our commitment to counting every single New Yorker and reflects our belief that CBOs are our neighborhood’s most trusted messengers. In many ways a test of our city’s resilience, the 2020 census is also a welcome opportunity for the city to forge new partnerships and to strengthen the fabric that weaves together our many diverse communities.”
“Today’s investment from the Council, Mayor’s Office, and CUNY is a historic partnership between three of the city’s most important institutions that will play a major factor in combatting the fear and misinformation emanating from the Trump administration on the 2020 Census,” said New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Co-Chair of the Council’s 2020 Census Task Force. “As Co-Chair of the Council’s 2020 Census Task Force, I look forward to working with Director Menin and CUNY to ensure that funding from this program goes to those best suited to ensuring a complete count – the non-profits and community organizers already on the ground working to help our hardest to count communities.”
“The census is more than a simple count of persons. It will determine the economic and political future of the United States for the next ten years,” said City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Co-Chair of the Council’s Census 2020 Task Force. “Those are the stakes, and the City Council understood this a long time ago. It’s why I and my fellow co-Chair Council Member Carlina Rivera pushed our Council colleagues to add $14 million to the City budget, all of which is going towards funding community-based organizations. This is a down payment on our future, and a promise to the next generation that they will have the tools to make our City stronger than ever.”
The goal of the awards program is to ensure full participation in the 2020 Census by supporting a large network of local community-based organizations considered messengers of important and sensitive information within New York City’s diverse communities.
The census determines how more than $650 billion in federal funds for public education, public housing, roads and bridges, and more, are distributed annually throughout the country, as well as the number of seats each state is allocated in the House of Representatives (and thus, the Electoral College). Another undercount could cost the State of New York up to two congressional seats, emphasizing the importance of a complete and accurate count of New York City.
In the 2010 Census, the city’s self-response rate was approximately 62 percent, compared to 76 percent, the approximate national average. This difference suggests that New York City has already been significantly undercounted compared to the rest of the United States, and is at risk of being even further undercounted in 2020. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the city’s self-response rate will only be 58 percent next year.
NEW YORK CITY COMPLETE COUNT FUND: A COMMUNITY-BASED EDUCATION AND ORGANIZING PROGRAM
Community-based organizations will be selected on the basis of where and with whom they already have a strong history of working, ensuring that awards will be prioritized to those who serve the communities most at risk of being undercounted in 2020. Award allocations will range from $25,000 to $250,000, based on the size of the organization. These organizations are uniquely set up to fight the spread of misinformation, convey the importance of the census, and help bridge the digital divide that might prevent New Yorkers from participating in the 2020 census.
Selection criteria have been designed to be transparent and easy to understand, with a tiering process to ensure that organizations applying will be evaluated against only those of a similar size. These criteria include assessing the geography and demography of communities served and organizational capacity, reach, and track record, which will help identify the organizations best positioned to reach historically undercounted communities. Organizations eligible to apply include nonprofits with 501(c)3 status, or those fiscally sponsored by such an organization, that provide legal, medical, and/or other social services; engage in issue-based and community organizing and advocacy; provide educational, arts, and cultural programming; and faith-based organizations.
Organizations will be required to produce a planning document containing information regarding key local institutions and leaders, characteristics of high-traffic areas where census outreach might be conducted, and a detailed plan for operationalizing education and organizing efforts in 2020. These efforts will be overseen by a Census Manager, a dedicated individual at each organization working at least part-time solely on census matters. CUNY and NYC Census 2020 will monitor metrics and progress made by each organization.
THE CITY’S OVERALL INVESTMENT
The $19 million program is the largest component of a $40 million citywide initiative to increase census participation announced by Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson earlier this year. In January, the Mayor committed $26 million to support the NYC Census 2020 initiative to conduct a complete and accurate count of New Yorkers. To support this effort, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson established the Council 2020 Census Task Force, co-chaired by Council Members Carlina Rivera and Carlos Menchaca, and committed $14 million in funding for community-based organizations across the city to engage in census organizing- and education-related efforts, bringing the City of New York’s total census-related funding commitment to an unprecedented $40 million.
The City University of New York (CUNY) is a key programmatic partner in this effort. CUNY, as an institutional partner with wide reach across the City, will conduct campus-wide “Get Out the Count” activities, assemble and mobilize a large “CensusCorps” of students to conduct outreach, and administer and conduct ongoing monitoring of the awards program. This program will train a body of 200 students to serve as culturally and linguistically diverse ambassadors to promote the census, educate fellow students, faculty and staff, their families, and play a key role in NYC Census’s field activities in targeted communities.
Applications are live until Tuesday, October 15, 2019. For more information, interested applicants should visit: www.getcounted2020.nyc.
“CUNY’s integral role in every borough of the city and our campuses’ deep well of expertise make us uniquely positioned to help lead the massive effort required to ensure a complete and accurate Census count,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “We are gearing up to oversee the more than 150 community-based organizations that will be at the frontlines of the Census effort. We are also creating a CUNY Census Corps, a team of 200 students who will fan out throughout the city. Finally, members of our faculty who are among the nation’s leading demographers and experts in the Census will continue to contribute their research and expertise to help guide the effort, not only in New York but nationwide.”
“As the Trump Administration uses every trick in the book to defund US cities and disavows our country’s long-standing commitments, it is more important than ever that we fight for the resources we need,” said Steven Banks, Commissioner of the Department of Social Services. “Hard-working families and individuals can’t afford another targeted attack from Washington. Here in New York City, the Department of Social Services is committed to ensuring all New Yorkers are counted in the 2020 Census, so we can continue meeting our mission of providing essential programs to millions of New Yorkers.”
“Every New Yorker, regardless of the background or immigration status, has the right to be counted in the Census. Our answer to the Trump Administration’s attempt to silence and make invisible our immigrant communities is to ensure they are fully engaged and empowered to get counted.” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “The City’s investment in community-based organizations raises the most trusted voices and leadership within our diverse communities to help deliver that message, ensure the safety of Census participation, and activate community members to be a part of a complete count.”
“The health of the city depends on New Yorkers participating in the Census 2020,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals. “The data are critical to establishing how billions of federal health care dollars are spent – from Medicaid to Medicare to the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Without an accurate count, the City stands to lose billions and potentially endanger the health of those in need.”
“DYCD is proud to support the 2020 Census by engaging our funded programs and participants and getting the word out through community outreach,” said Bill Chong, Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner. “There is a lot at stake for New York City—from federal funding to our representation in Congress—so it is critical that every resident is counted and the City receives its fair share of resources. DYCD looks forward to working with NYC Census 2020, CUNY, the New York Public Library (NYPL), Speaker Johnson and our partnering agencies to help ensure a complete and accurate Census.”
“An accurate Census count is paramount to being able to serve our community,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Chair and Commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. “Whether it is knowing how many languages are spoken in a neighborhood, to understanding the obstacles a group faces, having updated, relevant data on who we are working for will inevitably lead to better services for all New Yorkers.”
“A robust response to the 2020 Census is essential to maintaining New York City’s full participation in and appropriate funding from the federal government,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “Hundreds of community-based arts and cultural nonprofits serve as neighborhood anchors throughout the five boroughs, and are uniquely positioned to support these urgent ‘get out the count’ efforts. We applaud the Mayor for recognizing the importance of creative strategies to organize and mobilize our city’s diverse population.”
“Ensuring that all New Yorkers, especially those historically underrepresented, are counted in the upcoming census is a crucial piece to our democracy. CAU is committed to supporting the Census 2020 team and look forward to working with the trusted community organizations selected so that every New Yorker is empowered to be counted,” said Community Affairs Unit Commissioner Marco A. Carrión.
“The Census directly impacts our city and in 2020, more than ever, it is critical that we work to increase participation from all New Yorkers,” said Omar Khan, Director of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit. “We look forward to helping our city and community partners implement a proactive outreach campaign to educate New Yorkers about the Census and ensure everyone is counted.”
“The census provides insight into the wellbeing of our nation, including data on disabilities, fertility, insurance coverage and health care access, along with population statistics that are critically important,” said Dr. Oxiris Barbot, Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “The de Blasio Administration’s investment in an accurate count will help protect New York City’s fair share and provide important data to public health professionals across the country.”
“The hatred and vitriol coming out of the White House has alienated a lot of groups in our City, especially immigrants,” said Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. “Words and actions have made residents wary of the federal government, and trusted sources are the only way to educate New Yorkers about the importance of Census 2020. These awards will go a long way to ensuring the members of our communities are counted. We cannot afford to leave federal dollars on the table when there are so many needs to be met. I congratulate the Mayor and the Speaker for their commitment to making sure all New Yorkers are counted.”
“Census data affects the very core of our democracy and critical representation in government. People in every corner of this nation rely on accurate census data for our rights and wellbeing, and our communities must have the tools and resources necessary for an accurate count. I applaud the de Blasio Administration and the City Council for investing in community-based organizations to ensure that work is done on the ground, and that every New Yorker is engaged and counted accurately and fairly,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.
“The 2020 Census is less than 8 months away. We need to put all of our energy into making sure we have a successful operation and community-based organizations are crucial in helping us achieve this goal. Combined with the funding we’ve helped secure at the federal level, this funding will help ensure every New York City resident is reached and counted. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for this robust investment, the largest by any city so far. I hope other cities should take note and follow our example,” said Congressman José Serrano.
“The census is the crucial determinant of so much: federal funding to New York City, representation in Congress, and planning the future by federal, state, and local governments, businesses and nonprofits,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “The funding announced today by the Mayor will help community partners get the word out about the vital importance of Census 2020.”
“Accurate census data is the bedrock of our democracy – it determines how many congressional seats New York receives in the House of Representatives, and it informs the distribution of federal dollars to support our schools, hospitals, and infrastructure,” said State Senator Alessandra Biaggi. “To ensure full participation of hard-to-reach populations in the Bronx – such as the elderly, immigrants, the homeless, and youth – it is imperative that we invest in community-based organizations who already have the cultural knowledge and trust of these communities, and can effectively engage vulnerable New Yorkers in Census education. I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and the City University of New York for thoughtfully funding Census outreach across New York City. Every New Yorker matters, and every New Yorker deserves to be fully counted in 2020.”
“I am thrilled that the City is investing additional funds in local CBOs to support outreach for the 2020 Census,” said State Senator Robert Jackson. “As a State Senator I represent areas including Northern Manhattan, where in 2010 we had one of the highest count rates in the City despite the challenges posed by an aging population and a high percentage of monolingual Spanish speaking immigrants. These additional funds will help us repeat that success uptown and replicate it across the city for 2020!”
“It’s important that our elected leaders and CUNY are investing resources into ensuring that every New Yorker is counted in the upcoming census,” said State Senator Jessica Ramos. “Our communities’ resources and representation crucially depend on it. I urge New Yorkers to join us in filling out the census form, volunteering to help our neighbors participate, and applying for local jobs on the census website in order to ensure a full count.”
“Making sure New York has an accurate count in the upcoming census is critical to secure full representation and the federal dollars our communities need, especially here in the Bronx. I am thrilled that Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson have allocated $19 million directly to local groups who know their neighbors best and can ensure everyone participates,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I look forward to working closely with the community organizations in my district and with the City to ensure a complete count.”
“An investment in broad-ranging census outreach efforts is critical to ensuring all New Yorkers are counted in the upcoming 2020 Census,” said State Senator Julia Salazar. “Affording community members and civic groups the opportunity to have a direct hand in shaping outreach and Census Campaign efforts can intrinsically better inform the United Stated Census Bureau of the monetary allocations necessary to fund our community infrastructure, schools, public housing, and more.”
“We are thrilled to partner with NYC Census 2020 and applaud the work of the Mayor’s Office on this initiative,” said Assembly Member Catalina Cruz. “I cannot stress the importance of education and organization around the participation of all of our community members in Census 2020, and we all must band together to encourage all New Yorkers to come out and be counted. We cannot permit Trump’s scare tactics to devastate our communities any longer. We need full participation in the 2020 Census in order to guarantee that we receive the proper funding and representation at the federal level.”
“It is critically important, now more than ever, that we engage, educate and count an increasingly diverse and growing population,” said Assemblymember Victor M. Pichardo. “There is a lot at stake in the upcoming Census, including insufficient funding and inadequate representation, and I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Corey Johnson, and City University of New York for coming together to announce $19 million in funding to ensure the success of a complete and accurate count. The success of the Census depends on everyone’s participation.”
“While the Census is a national event, in order to be successful, it must be conducted at the local level,” said Jeff Behler, New York Regional Director of the U.S. Census Bureau. “Today’s announcement will provide opportunities for organizations throughout the city to stand up and be trusted voices for the 2020 Census. These community organizations and their involvement will be critical to ensuring a complete and accurate count.”
“We know from experience that community-based organizations are among the City’s best partners when it comes to getting the word out about the importance of getting counted. This program builds a bridge in our joint efforts to ensure that our communities get the schools, the parks, the roads, and health facility dollars they need and deserve from our federal government. Remember, stand up and be counted in the 2020 Census,” said Joseph Salvo, Chief Demographer at the Department of City Planning.
“The census plays a critical role in our democracy, determining political representation and the distribution of federal funding for New Yorkers,” said Linda E. Johnson, Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO. “The Library is a trusted institution and essential part of civic life in every Brooklyn neighborhood; as 2020 approaches we will lead the way, ensuring every person is counted and their privacy protected.”
“The New York Public Library is honored to partner with the City in its efforts to ensure that every New Yorker is counted as part of Census 2020,” said New York Public Library President Anthony W. Marx. “This important campaign is a natural extension of our mission to support and strengthen the City’s many diverse communities, to welcome all, and to offer everyone access to knowledge opportunity. We welcome every step forward, and look forward to the work ahead.”
“We’re grateful for the City’s investment in Census community outreach, which will provide vital support for trusted organizations to dispel mistrust of the Census, encourage participation, and provide culturally informed assistance and accessible resources to community members,” said Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and coordinator of NY Counts 2020. “With fear and disinformation about the Census pervasive in immigrant communities, now more than ever, supporting organizations that serve and have strong ties to their communities is critically important for guaranteeing a fair and accurate count in 2020. Now, with the City’s support, it’s time to organize, get out the count and make sure all New Yorkers receive their fair share of representation and federal funding.”
“This significant investment from the New York City Council and Mayor’s Office will make a major difference in the ability of nonprofits and community-based organizations – which are critical to ensuring a complete and accurate count – to dedicate real time and resources to the Census 2020 effort,” said Katie Leonberger, President and Chief Executive Officer of Community Resource Exchange. “These local organizations are the most trusted groups in our communities at greatest risk of being undercounted, and these funds are crucial for enabling census education and mobilization work. It is vital that all of us – nonprofits, government, and community leaders – work together to ensure that we attain as accurate a count as possible.”
“Community-based organizations are the lifeblood of our city of neighborhoods. They are uniquely positioned to pull off this epic endeavor – mobilizing New Yorkers for Census 2020,” said Betsy MacLean, Executive Director of Hester Street. “At Hester Street, we know that partnering with and resourcing CBOs is a key ingredient to Census and civic engagement success. We are thrilled that the City is investing in this powerful social infrastructure.”
“We are excited to see the City’s ongoing commitment to investing in community based organizations as part of its Census 2020 outreach efforts,of the Ford Foundation Cities and States Program,” said Jerry Maldonado, Director of The Ford Foundation Cities and State Program. “This investment will provide much needed additional resources to frontline, community partners who are best positioned to engage, educate and mobilize the City’s hardest to count communities and help ensure a fair and inclusive Census count.”
“New York City deserves a lot of credit for putting forward substantial resources to community-based organizations to ensure that our communities are counted in the 2020 Census,” said Theo Oshiro, Deputy Director of Make the Road New York. “We look forward to continuing to partner with the Mayor and the City Council to ensure a full, fair count across our communities.”
“We applaud the City of New York for taking this important step forward in their historic effort to partner with community organizations to ensure that every New Yorker is accurately counted in Census 2020,” said Juan Rosa, Northeast Director of Civic Engagement for NALEO.
“Our city and state’s federal representation and funding for healthcare, infrastructure, and schools hang in the balance unless we as New Yorkers take action to raise up our most underserved and undercounted populations,” said Steven Rubenstein, Chairman of the Association for a Better New York and Co-Chair of the Census 2020 Organizing and Action Committee. “This additional funding equips the local partners that New Yorkers have learned to rely on with the resources they need to break down one of the strongest barriers to a successful and accurate Census 2020 count in every community.”
“The Revson Foundation has prioritized supporting nonprofits in their efforts to ensure New York has a fair and accurate Census count, said Julie Sandor, President of the Charles H. Revson Foundation. “We applaud the City Council and the Mayor’s contribution to this effort.”
“As an attorney and life-long community advocate, I know firsthand that community based organizations are lifelines for many vulnerable New Yorkers, including those we serve,” said Esmeralda Simmons, Esq., Executive Director, Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College. “Funding from the City allows us to fully engage in census justice and reach Black New Yorkers who have historically been the city’s most undercounted group. We have the support necessary to go out into our communities and meet people where they are, allaying any concerns and dispelling any myths about completing the census and its potential impact on immigrants and other vulnerable groups. The City’s allocation means the difference between African descendant people being fully counted and receiving their fair share of resources and being denied representation and billions in federal dollars.”
“The citizenship question proposal has already harmed census outreach, and New York simply cannot afford an undercount. Settlement houses and community-based organizations are embedded in hard-to-count communities and are best suited to dispel fears around the census,” said Susan Stamler, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Houses. “This grants program will enable community-based organizations to carry out education, outreach, and technical assistance ahead of the census. We are grateful that the Mayor and City Council stepped up to ensure that community-based organizations have the funding they need to ensure every New Yorker is counted.”
“We share with the Mayor, Speaker and CUNY leaders an understanding that support for community-based Census education and organizing is essential to ensuring a full and fair count of every single resident of New York,” said Patricia A. Swann, Senior Program Officer at The New York Community Trust and Chair of the New York State Census Equity Fund, a joint effort of more than 30 local, regional, national foundations, and individual donors dedicated to 2020 Census organizing. “The philanthropic community is committed to coordinating with the City in its crucial get-out-the-count initiative.”
“UWNYC is squarely focused on making sure low-income New Yorkers are not overlooked and undercounted and we believe working to ensure a fair and accurate count in the 2020 Census is one of the most important efforts of our time,” said Sheena Wright, President and CEO of United Way of New York City. “This significant investment from the City of New York indicates the priority the Mayor’s office and the City Council are placing on ensuring that those who have historically been undercounted are fairly and accurately represented. We applaud the leadership of the City of New York for this investment and encourage all our partners to be engaged in this effort.”
“In light of the fact that Asian Americans are the least likely among all racial groups to fill out the Census, particularly in the current political climate of fear and intimidation, we are heartened by the City’s critical investment in trusted community groups to organize and outreach to hard-to-reach populations to ensure high participation rates,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation. “As 70 percent of Asian New Yorkers are immigrants, we need a concerted effort to address their concerns by informing them of the confidentiality protections built into the Census and the benefits to the community of securing our fair share of over $880 billion in federal funds. We look forward to working with the City to ensure that all our diverse communities are fully represented through a complete and accurate count.”
“New York’s Asian American population is not only the fastest growing group in the city, but due to language and culture barriers, also one of the most difficult to count,” said Thomas Yu and Jennifer Sun, co-executive directors of Asian Americans for Equality. “This unprecedented commitment by the Mayor’s Office and City Council for census outreach is a game changer. It will provide trusted community-based groups with essential tools to activate our neighborhoods for the 2020 U.S. Census, ensuring that marginalized immigrant communities receive the representation and resources they need to thrive.”
Educational Fund: “Latinos are the nation’s second largest population group and account for more than one in every four New York City residents. A failure to capture a full and accurate count of Latinos would mean a failed Census 2020 for the city and nation. We know we cannot afford to let this happen, which is why we are so proud to be working together with the City of New York and local partners to ensure that no Latino is missed in the upcoming decennial count.”
“Brooklyn NAACP is pleased to take action and become intricately involved with New York’s Census 2020 awareness and Get Out the Count (GOTC) efforts,” said Stephanie Zinerman, the Civic Engagement Chair of the Brooklyn NAACP. “Over the next several months, we will mobilize our membership, activist and partner base around the importance of being counted in the census. Additionally, we will provide training opportunities for volunteers who will be engaged in GOTC activities and deployed in Brooklyn’s Hard to Count (HTC) communities of color. We want to thank the Mayor and City Council for funding this important work and look forward to helping to secure much needed resources for our great city.”
ABOUT NYC CENSUS 2020
NYC Census 2020 is a first-of-its-kind organizing initiative established by Mayor de Blasio in January 2019 to engage in a multi-pronged effort to ensure a complete and accurate count of all New Yorkers in the 2020 Census. NYC Census 2020’s program is built on four pillars: (1) its community-based The New York City Complete Count Fund; (2) its in-house “Get Out the Count” field campaign; (3) innovative, multi-lingual, tailored messaging and marketing; as well as (4) its in-depth Agency and Partnerships engagement plan that seeks to leverage the power of the City’s 350,000-strong workforce and the city’s major institutions, including libraries, hospitals, faith-based, cultural institutions, and higher educational institutions, among others, to communicate with New Yorkers about the critical importance of census participation. NYC Census 2020 is led by Director Julie Menin, an attorney by training, who has previously served as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, as well as the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (formerly known as the Department of Consumer Affairs).