Capital Area United Way announced grants to 12 tri-county agencies to support Census outreach in historically undercounted communities. A complete and accurate count is critical as the Census is used to allocate federal, state, and local funding, as well as representation in Congress. The programs funded by these grants will go a long way toward making that happen in the tri-county region.
The grants were made possible by support from more than forty organizations, including the State of Michigan. One of the goals in awarding the grants was to reach a wide variety of historically undercounted populations. Those include people of color, low-income households, older adults, LGBTQ community members, young children, people with limited English, those experiencing homelessness, and immigrants.
Francisca Garcia, President of Voces de la Comunidad, a grant recipient, indicated that the mini grant will be used to educate the Latino community of the importance of the Census. The group will attend school functions, community events and festivals to spread the message that the census is confidential and critical for important services in our community.
“Barriers to participation include mistrust of the government and its systems,” Garcia says. “By going into the areas where Latinos frequent and feel safe, we hope to be able to share the message that the Census is needed to ensure we have services for our community.”
The tri-county area is also home to many refugees and immigrants from across the globe speaking diverse languages such as Arabic, Somali, Burmese, Nepali, and Swahili. Refugee Development Center director Erika Brown-Binion says her organization in partnership with St. Vincent Catholic Charities will focus on helping refugees and immigrants understand three key messages: the Census is convenient, confidential and critical to our city and state.
“Helping our refugee newcomer neighbors understand the purpose of the 2020 Census and what is at stake for our community will be a priority in 2020,” Brown-Binion says. “We will work to eliminate barriers to completion such as limited English proficiency, fear, and access. Our challenge is to help eliminate these barriers.”
The “Census 2020 Michigan Nonprofits Count Campaign” led by the Michigan Nonprofit Association is an ambitious effort to mobilize nonprofits and to partner with state and local government to encourage participation in the census in communities that are at significant risk of being undercounted. United Way serves as the Census Hub for Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties. United Way will provide training and resources to nonprofits, identify historically undercounted communities within the counties and work with nonprofit and public-sector partners to get out the count.
For more information please visit MIVoiceCounts.org or to learn more about the grant recipients and Capital Area United Way’s census work, visit micauw.org.
About the Capital Area United Way
Capital Area United Way is committed to uniting people and resources to solve defined problems and improve the quality of life for individuals and families in our communities.