The Census 2020 NJ Coalition commends Secretary of State Tahesha Way and the Statewide Complete Count Commission for providing grant opportunities for Census outreach for hard-to-count communities across New Jersey. There are two separate grant programs, one for counties (up to $450,000) and one for non-profit and faith and community-based organizations (up to $50,000).
“The Coalition advocated strongly for the appropriation of $9 million in state funding in the FY2020 budget for Census outreach, particularly focused on local and community-based outreach,” said Peter Chen, project coordinator for the Census 2020 NJ Coalition and policy counsel at Advocates for Children of New Jersey. “This funding will go a long way to ensuring that trusted messengers can get financial support to engage in the resource-intensive work of organizing hard-to-count communities to respond to the Census.”
The Census, a constitutionally mandated decennial count of every person in the nation, is used to decide where more than $22 billion in federal funding is allocated in New Jersey. Funds are used towards schools, hospitals, roads and more, impacting the budget for the next ten years until the next Census. These numbers are also used to decide federal representation. An undercount would mean less funding and government representation.
“The Department of State’s announcement of Census based grant opportunities marks New Jersey’s commitment to an accurate and complete count,” said Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez (D-Perth Amboy). “Funding towards the State’s Census budget will be strategically invested in trusted community partners and county governments to create an effective outreach strategy spanning every corner of the State. I encourage all eligible entities to apply and look forward to the strong results these organizations will achieve to drive Census participation, especially in our hard-to-count communities.”
Roughly 22 percent (almost 2 million) of New Jersey residents live in a "hard-to-count" neighborhood. These hard-to-count pockets are spread out across the entire state. In particular, children under five years old, Asian residents, Hispanic/Latinx residents, immigrants, black residents and urban areas are especially difficult. In order to combat this, complete count committees are being formed throughout the state, dedicated to conducting outreach to those populations and ensure they are represented.
"With the challenges and the fear that currently exist, it is so important that we have trusted community resources to empower everyone in New Jersey to want to be counted in 2020,“ said Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Maplewood). “Federal dollars to support our infrastructure, roads, schools, and hospital beds all depend on the census numbers. If everyone is not counted next year, we all will suffer. We must focus on all of our hard-to-count populations—including our seniors and children—and find ways to overcome the fears, cybersecurity concerns and distrust of government. Even one child who is not counted next year will be invisible for ten years or more. I was a proud sponsor of the budget resolution to allocate $9 million in our budget for the Census and the lead prime sponsor of the legislation to establish our New Jersey Complete Count Commission. I am excited about this new grant program and encourage not-for-profits to apply for funding.”
“With the 2020 Census quickly approaching, I’m proud to see New Jersey taking the right steps to ensure each and every resident is counted,” said Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Trenton). “So much depends on the Census count, from federal representation in Congress to access to critical funding – and we only have one chance every decade to get it right. These grants will give non-profits and municipalities the support they need to expand outreach efforts and put New Jersey on a path to a full and accurate count.”
As the statewide coalition dedicated to coordinate non-profit and community-based Census outreach, the Census 2020 NJ Coalition encourages local nonprofits that serve hard-to-count populations to apply for funding from the State. Local nonprofit, community-based and faith organizations will be the backbone of Census outreach and organizing efforts in communities across New Jersey.
The Coalition thanks Secretary Way and the members of the Statewide Complete Count Commission for listening to the voices of local community organizers and non-profits.
For more ways that non-profits can assist in the 2020 Census count in New Jersey, visit Census2020NJ.org.