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Grants support Census outreach for hard-to-count communities

Jan 06, 2020

The Maine Census Outreach Fund 2020 has awarded 14 nonprofits with grants to support the participation of hard-to-count communities in the upcoming 2020 Census.  Grants for statewide and community-based efforts were awarded through an open request for proposal process for statewide and community-based efforts and ranged from $5000 to $15,000. Grant-funded activities will include outreach through community events, adult education programs, phone banks, and some organizations will offer on-site computer labs for completing Census forms.

Historically, a number of communities have been undercounted in Maine, including tribal nations, children under age 5, people in rural communities, people of color and people experiencing homelessness, among others.  The 2020 Census will also be the first time that a digital option is the first option for response, adding new challenges for counting those who lack digital literacy and internet access.

Every 10 years, the U.S. Constitution requires that all residents, including non-citizens and undocumented immigrants, be counted through a nationwide census.

“Collecting accurate census data is an essential part in determining a fair allocation of federal funds and political representation at the federal, state, and local levels,” said Morgan Hynd, director of The Bingham Program which has facilitated the MCOF 2020 effort.  “It is critical that we have a complete count in Maine to ensure accurate demographic data about our state and to ensure that our tax dollars are returned to the state to fund important programs that impact all of us. For every child that is not counted, Maine could potentially lose $16,400 in federal funding over a ten year period.”

The MCOF 2020 is a collaborative funding effort supported by the Maine Philanthropy Center that pooled $170,000 from nine different philanthropies that make grants in Maine.  This is the first time that Maine philanthropies have worked together to support Census work, which will help to inform future Census outreach efforts in 2030 and beyond.

The funded organizations are Gateway Community Services Maine; Hand in Hand Mano en Mano; League of Women Voters of Maine - Education Fund; Literacy Volunteers of Greater Augusta; Maine Access Immigrant Network; Maine Adult Education Association, Maine Children's Alliance; Maine Equal Justice; Maine Immigrants' Rights Coalition; Preble Street; Rural Community Action Ministry; Sunrise County Economic Council; Tri-County Mental Health Services and YWCA Central Maine.


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