Request for Community-Based Organizations 2020 Census Funding: Letter from Philanthropy California and the League of California Community Foundations

May 16, 2019
The Honorable Holly Mitchell
Chair, Senate Committee on Budget and
Fiscal Review
State Capitol, Room 5019
Sacramento, CA 95814
The Honorable Philip Ting
Chair, Assembly Committee on Budget
State Capitol, Room 6026
Sacramento, CA 95814
The Honorable Maria Elena Durazo
Chair, Senate Budget Subcommittee #4
State Capitol, Room 4034
Sacramento, CA 95814
The Honorable Jim Cooper
Chair, Assembly Budget Subcommittee #4
State Capitol, Room 6025
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: Support for $93.4 Million Investment for Community-Based Organizations for Census Outreach in the 2019-20 State Budget
Dear Chairs Mitchell, Durazo, Ting and Cooper:
On behalf of Philanthropy California, the League of California Community Foundations, and 24 foundations, we respectfully share our support for the Census Policy Advocacy Network’s (CPAN) request for an additional $93.4 million in the 2019-20 budget to fund outreach by community-based organizations (CBOs) for the 2020 Census. We believe this additional funding will help reach 16.2 million individuals living within and outside of hard-to-count (HTC) census tracts and is critical to ensure a complete and accurate count of California.
Foundations recognize the the critical role that CBOs will play in ensuring a complete and accurate 2020 Census. Philanthropic institutions across the state are committing unprecedented levels of resources towards Census outreach and education, increasing by 300 percent in grants from the 2010 Census. Like the state, we see that extraordinary times call for extraordinary investments. However, philanthropic dollars alone cannot meet the significant shortfall in funding for CBO outreach.
The proposed expenditure for CBO outreach in the Governor’s January 2019-20 budget is insufficient to conduct the level of outreach needed to California’s hard to count (HTC) populations. While we applaud the significant investment made by the State to date, the 2020 Census is unlike any census before. Without adequate resources to support critical on-the-ground community-based efforts, California remains at risk for an undercount – losing billions of dollars in federal funding and congressional seats for a decade. Accordingly, we respectfully request the Legislature to allocate an additional $93.4 million specifically for CBO outreach in the 2019-20 budget.
We were pleased to see Governor Newsom’s proposal of an additional $50 million for the State’s 2020 Census outreach program in his January budget. We were also delighted to read that the California Complete Count Office intends to allocate $15.9 million of the proposed $50 million to CBO outreach. This allocation would build on the State’s sound investment in FY 2018-19 and lay a foundation for the successful implementation of the State’s program. Both the overall allocation and the expenditure for CBO outreach exceed what the State has done in the past for similar efforts and reflect a strong commitment to achieving an accurate census count; however, both are also insufficient to meet the need for effective outreach to Californians, especially those residents who are difficult for the Census Bureau to count. To best counter federal-level policies, particularly but not solely immigration policies, that have generated fear among some HTC residents who are concerned about how the government might use census data to target communities, the State must invest and support outreach by CBOs.
As noted by CPAN in its March 29, 2019 letter, the cost for CBOs across the state to educate and encourage millions of HTC Californians to participate in the 2020 Census is $120.4 million in totality. This total is much higher than both the already allocated $27 million in last year’s budget, and the proposed $15.9 million in commitment by California Complete Count office. This estimate should be carefully considered before the 2019-20 budget is finalized in order to ensure that California is best positioned for a complete count and will receive its fair share of federal funding and congressional seats in the decade after 2020.
Census outreach by CBOs will be critical to ensuring that California’s hardest to count populations participate in the 2020 Census. The State has long recognized the essential role that CBOs play in communities across the state in supporting Census outreach – both as trusted messengers and census educators. CBOs usually have deep relationships with and knowledge of HTC populations, which makes them a vital source of trusted messengers. They also usually have experience operating various types of outreach programs, which is what makes them a vital source of census education. From door-to-door canvasing and phone banking to social media messaging and digital campaigns, CBOs are best situated to validate government messages and alleviate anxiety about responding to the Census questionnaire or enumerator.
Philanthropy California, an alliance of Northern California, San Diego, and Southern California Grantmakers, has more than 600 foundation members across the state. Our community of philanthropists and funders work in partnership with community leaders and nonprofits to make a difference in California. The League of California Community Foundations, consisting of more than 30 community foundations from across the state, builds and strengthens California’s communities by fostering collaboration and learning among the state’s community foundations.
Philanthropy California, the League of California Community Foundations, and all of the undersigned organizations look forward to working with you and your staff on ensuring a complete and accurate count of California. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Cecilia Chen, Public Policy Director, at or by phone at (415) 872-1016.
Thank you for your consideration.
Yours truly,
Philanthropy California
League of California Community Foundations
Asian Pacific Fund
Community Foundation for San Benito County
Community Foundation Santa Cruz County
Community Partners
East Bay Community Foundation
First 5 LA
Horizons Foundation
Humboldt Area Foundation
Kern Community Foundation
Marin Community Foundation
Napa Valley Community Foundation
Pasadena Community Foundation
Sacramento Region Community Foundation
San Francisco Foundation
Shasta Regional Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundations
Solano Community Foundation
Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation
The Community Foundation of Mendocino County
The Community Foundation Serving San Bernardino and Riverside Counties
The San Diego Foundation
United Ways of California
Ventura County Community Foundation
Women's Foundation of California
CC: The Honorable Toni G. Atkins, President pro Tempore, California State Senate
The Honorable Anthony Rendon, Speaker, California State Assembly
Honorable Members, Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee
Honorable Membres, Assembly Budget Committee
Maricela Rodriguez, Director of Civic Engagement and Strategic Partnerships, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom
Joey Freeman, Chief Deputy Legislative Affairs Secretary for Policy, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom
Sonya Logman, Deputy Cabinet Secretary, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom
Gina Da Silva, Senior Policy Advisor for Immigration, Office of Governor Gavin Newsom



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