Thirty Philanthropic Institutions File Amicus Brief with US Supreme Court to Halt Census Citizenship Question

This week, 30 philanthropic organizations across the country took the unusual step of filing an amicus brief asking the United States Supreme Court to consider the harm an undercount in the upcoming 2020 Census will have on philanthropy’s mission which relies on a complete census count for data-driven investments and solutions tailored to their communities.

Of greatest concern is whether the census will ask people about their citizenship status, as has been proposed.  Available analysis suggests that the effects of adding the citizenship question to the 2020 Census would be significant and negative. The inaccuracy that would result from this question is especially problematic because the groups likely to be undercounted are central to philanthropy’s mission, including young children, immigrants, low income families, and people in rural areas.

The signatories include national, regional, state, and community-based institutions, including private foundations, community foundations, philanthropy-serving organizations and a state association of United Ways. These institutions, their partners and grantees support a range of initiatives that are informed by census and census-derived data. These include increasing access to affordable quality health care for underserved individuals and communities; ending homelessness; increasing access to quality early childhood and youth development opportunities and providing opportunities for learning beyond high school; supporting community development and access to affordable housing; providing services to vulnerable communities; and much more.

The amici have a strong interest in ensuring that the census accurately counts all members of the U.S. population, particularly those who have historically been undercounted, often the populations with the greatest need.

Philanthropy California, an association of Northern, Southern and San Diego Grantmakers, is pleased to have signed the brief along with thirty amici representing a broad spectrum of the philanthropic community. Philanthropy California partnered with the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation and the Bauman Foundation, along with pro bono counsel the New York-based law firm Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman, to bring philanthropy’s perspective to the Court.


Philanthropy California

Philanthropy California is an alliance of Northern California Grantmakers, San Diego Grantmakers, and Southern California Grantmakers, representing over 600 foundations that give on average $6 billion annually to nonprofits that provide support and services to people across the state and country.  


Contact: Emily Katz, Philanthropy California

(m) 415-309-5845 (o) 415-872-1013


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