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Collin County Nonprofits Learn Strategies to Aid Census 2020 Count

February 25, 2020

Collin County Business Alliance partnered with CFT to host census workshop, addressing challenges of reaching hard-to-count populations

New roads. School lunches. Where to build factories and offices. Support for families in need. Educational resources and infrastructure. The list goes on. Census results impact our communities every single day. The results of the 2020 Census will help determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flow into our communities for the next 10 years. That funding shapes varying aspects of every community, regardless of size or location.

Yet getting out the count is no small feat; it requires everyone's help. From large businesses to community organizations and individuals, we all play an integral role in the future success and livelihoods of our communities. And communities are something we - at CFT - care deeply about.With a mission to create thriving communities for all, it was only fitting that CFT  partner with The Collin County Business Alliance (CCBA) to host a census workshop to help 75 area nonprofits prepare for the 2020 census. The event aided nonprofits’ efforts to ensure all stakeholders in their communities participate in the census since funding is at stake if populations are undercounted. 

Nonprofit leaders learned about important census resources and problem solved on how to reach “hard-to-count populations” during an interactive workshop at Capital One’s Plano campus. Attendees storyboarded certain challenges related to census outreach and later outlined solutions, which included information sessions and a mock census to reach low-income, elderly, immigrant and disabled populations.


“My Possibilities serves as the pioneering leader in vocational education for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Courtney Echols, who is the nonprofit’s engagement manager. “Our students’ counting in the census means so much to us, and we appreciated the opportunity to work on ways to empower and educate them.”

The U.S. Census Bureau makes sure every United States resident is counted every 10 years, but the impact of a 2020 undercount can be profound, which was the driving factor for CCBA to create Collin County Counts. The initiative - in partnership with various Complete Count Committees in Collin County cities - provides valuable resources, so everyone in the county is counted.

“It’s vital for us to come together because it takes everyone in the community to get the census turnout we need,” said CCBA Director Barbara Baffer, who is also vice president at Ericsson, overseeing government and industry relations. “The Collin County Counts initiative is focused on how to engage, educate and ultimately count the area’s increasingly diverse and growing population. The workshop’s tools helped alleviate concerns nonprofits may have with the census process.”

Statewide, CFT has partnered with the Center for Public Priorities to lead Texas Counts, a cross-sector, all-Texas collaborative of leaders and organizations working to leverage, amplify and share resources to promote the 2020 census. Texas Counts serves as a connector and hub for all “get out the count” efforts in the state.

“In a best-case scenario, where we miss only 1% of the population, we would lose $300 million in federal money per year,” said CFT’s Educate Texas Managing Director George Tang, who also co-chairs the Dallas Mayor's 2020 Census Complete Count Committee. “We would need to make significant cuts that would impact critical areas in our community like education, healthcare, roads, infrastructure and more for the next 10 years. This would come right at a time when our communities in Collin County and across our state have grown larger than ever and have greater needs.”

The Texas Counts Pooled Fund at CFT is also mobilizing philanthropy and fundraising to invest in efforts that activate high-need, hard-to-count communities across the state for the census. To-date, the fund has received over 230 applications for resource assistance grants totaling over $14 million.

“Our team at the Communities Foundation of Texas is proud to work alongside partners like CCBA to raise awareness about the census and to help equip our business, civic and nonprofit leaders with the skills and resources they need to ensure a complete count,” Tang said. “Everyone counts, and it’s going to take all of us working together over the next several months to make sure everyone is counted.”

 

Tang's remarks embody the CFT spirit: every person counts. Communities, comprised of individuals, only thrive when we can identify those within.

To find out more about how your nonprofit can be a part of getting out the count in Dallas, consider joining CFT for a workshop where we'll share additional resources and tools. With breakout groups centered around four key topics - led by a CFT staff facilitator - your organization will leave equipped to boostrap census outreach that aumnets official messaging and organizing from the city and the county of Dallas.


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