Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced this week that grant applications are now available for nonprofit organizations to conduct outreach for the 2020 Census. The City is seeking proposals from locally-based organizations to develop and implement education, awareness, and mobilization strategies in historically undercounted communities. Applicants are required to submit their proposals by Sept. 6, at 4 p.m.
“We are counting on our community-based organizations to help us do outreach and mobilize residents to ensure a fair count in the Census,” said Mayor Walsh. “The decision to no longer pursue a citizenship question on the 2020 Census was a win for equity, and we will continue working alongside our Complete Count Committee and grantees to push for full participation to achieve an accurate and inclusive count.”
Mayor Walsh and the City’s Complete Count Committee are committed to counting all Bostonians, regardless of neighborhood, income, immigration status, or housing status. Applicants must be Boston-based, serve “hard-to-count” populations, and outline a clear strategy to avoid an undercount. Hard-to-count populations are geographic areas that fell in the bottom 20 percent of 2010 Census return rates nationwide. Boston is the ninth hardest-to-count city among the largest 100 cities nationwide, according to a report by Boston Indicators and the Boston Foundation.
“The Mayor’s investment is crucial to providing necessary resources to community-based organizations and amplifying new or existing work in support of the 2020 Census,” said Beth Chandler, president and CEO, YWCA Boston. “We need local voices and trusted partners to work in collaboration in order to ensure all people are counted and represented. Increased census participation will shed light on pressing inequities faced by our community members and help inform organizations across the Commonwealth so we can achieve the most accurate and equitable outcomes in our community.”
Getting an accurate Census determines representation and public aid for the next ten years. Data from the 2010 Census determined around $16 billion every year in federal spending for critical programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, affordable housing initiatives, Title I education funding, free school meals, and infrastructure in Massachusetts. For every one person that’s not counted on the Census, the state loses out on roughly $2,400 of federal funding.
In April 2019, Mayor Walsh, nonprofit leaders and community members launched a year-long outreach campaign to ensure a fair and complete count in the 2020 U.S. Census, where he announced the City is investing an additional $100,000 in his FY20 budget to support Boston’s outreach efforts by providing grants to community-based organizations and more support to City departments. This is in addition to a FY19 investment of dedicated staffing resources to support the City’s census efforts announced in the Mayor’s 2019 State of the City address.
Next year’s Census faces unprecedented challenges, including significant underfunding of the U.S. Census Bureau, and the nearly all-digital nature of the surveys. Boston Counts 2020 is the City’s effort to support an equitable and complete count in the next U.S. Census, and the Committee will work to ensure every resident in Boston is counted.