The fund is investing more than $580,000 in 36 nonprofits that serve historically under-counted populations.
On December 4, the Seattle Foundation announced its second round of funding for the Regional Census Fund. With an investment of more than $580,000, 36 nonprofits received grants to serve historically under-counted populations in King County, including Black, Latinx, immigrant and refugee communities, low-income residents, children under five, LGBTQ residents and others.
Launched in April 2019, the Regional Census Fund maximizes the impact of philanthropic and public resources both to support a robust, fair and accurate 2020 Census count across King County and to create a lasting model for community mobilization. The Regional Census Fund is a partnership between Seattle Foundation, King County, City of Seattle, City of Bellevue, City of Kirkland, and City of Redmond.
Census data directly affects how more than $1.5 trillion in annual federal funding is allocated to communities for schools, roads, and hospitals, as well as for vital social programs such as Medicaid, Head Start, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Census Bureau estimates that Washington State received a total of $16.7 billion or approximately $2,300 per person in federal funds in 2016.
“Our country is still grappling with its history of exclusion and systemic racism in which people have deliberately not been counted, or been counted as less than a whole person, to dehumanize them and take away their resources,” says Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “Despite what this president thinks, in Seattle we know that everyone counts, and everyone deserves to be counted.”
“An accurate census is the data backbone of our democracy,” says Seattle Foundation President & CEO Tony Mestres. “As a community, we need to make sure everyone is counted and no one is deterred from participating. The organizations doing this critical work on the ground are protecting democracy for all of us.”
With limited federal resources for census outreach, unequal access to the internet for online questionnaire completion, and lingering concerns around the contested citizenship question, which will not be on the census, the Regional Census Fund is supporting organizations with deep community trust and tailored approaches to engage historically under-counted communities.
One grantee, Entre Hermanos, is working with a group of intersectional organizations on a joint effort called, “Queer the Census Washington.”
“We’ve been able to lead this roundtable, host monthly meetings and participate in a national conversation,” says Entre Hermanos deputy director Eric Holzapfel, whose organization serves the Latino LGBTQ community. Grant funding supports their efforts to train trusted messengers who advise people about census questions related to sexual orientation, gender identity and nontraditional households. “We talk to people about how the census impacts various aspects of daily life, how it’s tied to funding and representation.”
Regional Census Fund Fall 2019 Grant Recipients
- Black Lives Matter Seattle King County
- Center for Human Services
- The Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas
- Centro Cultural Mexicano
- Colectiva Legal del Pueblo
- East African Community Services
- Entre Hermanos
- Fair Work Center
- Filipino Community of Seattle
- Horn of Africa Services
- IKRON of Greater Seattle
- International Community Health Services
- King County Library System Foundation
- Literacy Source
- Mother Africa
- Muslim Community & Neighborhood Association
- Neighborhood House
- Para Los Niños
- Puget Sound Labor Agency
- Refugee Women’s Alliance
- Royal Esquire Club
- Sea Mar Community Health Centers
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Seattle/King County
- Somali Community Services of Seattle
- Somali Youth and Family Club
- Somos Seattle
- Tenants Union
- Tet in Seattle
- UTOPIA (United Territories of Pacific Islanders’ Alliance)
- Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle
- Villa Comunitaria
- The Washington Bus Education Fund
- White Center Community Development Association
Learn more about the first round of funding last June, which included 21 grantees.
Regional Census Fund Partner Contributions
- Seattle Foundation: $700,000
- City of Seattle: $250,000
- King County: $250,000
- City of Bellevue: $50,000
- City of Kirkland: $30,000
- City of Redmond: $20,000
For more information about the Regional Census Fund, you can contact Aaron Robertson and Bao-Tram Do: seattlefoundation.org/aboutus/ourteam.