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The Latest from Brooklyn Community Foundation

The Countdown to Census 2020 Is On! Here’s the Latest In Our Fight to #MakeBrooklynCount

It’s been a busy few weeks as we approach the one-year countdown to Census 2020 — which has included an op-ed in the New York Daily News authored by our President and CEO Cecilia Clarke, the second meeting of the Brooklyn Complete Count Committee, and a trip to Albany to advocate for $40M in this year’s state budget.

We are raising our voices to call for increased awareness, funding, and planning for the upcoming decennial census count — particularly because our own borough ranks #1 as the “Hardest to Count” among all New York state counties. With the proposed addition of a citizenship question on next year’s survey, we are also concerned that our communities are being intentionally suppressed, which could lead to historically low response rates.

Brooklyn Community Foundation is determined to #MakeBrooklynCount in 2020, since we know that Census data informs our share of government funding for major social programs and civic infrastructure, redistricting and the apportionment of congressional seats, and long-term investment in our communities by both government and business.

Earlier this year, a Quinnipiac Poll found that Brooklynites are most likely to participate in the Census if they hear about it from a local nonprofit — more than faith leaders, libraries, newspapers, and social media. If nonprofits are being looked to as front-line Census messengers, we must ensure that they have the funding and capacity to do the work on top of the critical services they provide to their communities day in and day out.

Pictured: Brooklyn Complete Count Commitee Co-Chairs Pastor Gil Monrose and Cecilia Clarke, Lurie Favors from the Center for Law and Social Justice, Liz Burakowski, Zakera Ahmed from the US Census Bureau, and Liz OuYang from New York Counts 2020

Here’s a quick snapshot of where we’ve been and what we’re doing as we fight for a fair and accurate count on behalf on nonprofits in our communities:

  • On February 27th, we partnered with the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President to host the second Brooklyn Complete Count Committee public meeting, focused on sharing what city and state resources will be available to community-based nonprofits on the frontlines of Census outreach. Featured guests included Julie Menin, NYC’s new Census Director, Elizabeth Burakowski, the Deputy Director for New York State’s Complete Count Commission, and Melva Miller, Census Coordinator for the Association for a Better New York – the City’s pro bono Census 2020 partner.
     
  • On March 4th, the New York Daily News published an op-ed by Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke calling out New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature for so far failing to include any money in this year’s budget for Census 2020 outreach. Nonprofits statewide will need at least $40 million to do the work expected of them to “get out the count” in our communities.
     
  • The next day, we went to Albany with over 200 members of the statewide New York Counts 2020 coalition to meet directly with State Assembly members and Senators about the $40 million request.
     
  • And lastly, our Program Officer Sabrina Hargrave has joined the Steering Committee of the New York State Census Equity Fund, which is a pooled philanthropic effort to fund community-based nonprofits across New York for Census 2020 outreach. Managed under the New York Community Trust, the first Requests for Proposals (RFP) will be announced in the coming weeks!

Now it’s time for you to join our efforts and reach out directly to your own elected officials. And next month, stay tuned for the next public meeting of the Brooklyn Complete Count Committee, and keep an eye on the Supreme Court, which is set to hear arguments on the citizenship question on April 23rd.

Categories: 
Census 2020

Liane Stegmaier

Vice President of Communications and Strategy
If nonprofits are being looked to as front-line Census messengers, we must ensure that they have the funding and capacity to do the work on top of the critical services they provide to their communities day in and day out.