In an effort to ensure northeast Michigan gets an accurate count in the upcoming 2020 census, Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan (CFNEM) served as the nonprofit census hub for the region.
Census dollars are used to determine federal funding for important programs like free/reduced lunches for schools, broadband and internet access, MI Child, Medicare, Medicaid, colllege loans, head start and early head start programs, WIC, Congressional representation, foster care, child care, highway planning and road repairs, housing assistance, and so much more.
The United States Constitution requires the residential population of the country to be counted every 10 years, with the next census set for April 2020. A complete and accurate count is vital for all communities, including northeast Michigan.
Some of the historically hard-to-count populations are served in some way by a number of our local nonprofits. Those organizations proved to be key players in the effort to increase awareness of the importance of census participation, for our state and locally. Because of its strong relationships with nonprofits serving the region, CFNEM is uniquely positioned to act as a convener, outreach vehicle, and grantmaker. It is through those relationships, and those of its affiliate foundations (Iosco County Community Foundation, North Central Michigan Community Foundation, and Straits Area Community Foundation), that the hub helped reach every corner of the region.
Nonprofits are typically trusted by those who utilize their services, and they are well-positioned to help reach the hard-to-count populations. CFNEM’s role as the census hub provided strategic and financial support for organizations to increase awareness about the census, resulting in more individuals and households being counted.
Historically, some populations – including low-income households, immigrants, the homeless, and young children – have been undercounted in the census. Undercounts happen for many reasons. People may not understand the census, may not trust the government, or may not want to share their information. Whatever the reason people don’t participate, undercounts deprive communities of necessary resources and representation.
For the first time, census data was collected primarily online. This new format likely made it hard for those without reliable internet access to participate. This was of particular concern in northeast Michigan, as a large number of residences are without online access. Many of the projects funded through Census grants helped address those issues.
CFNEM’s role as the census hub for northeast Michigan included the formation and convening of an advisory committee, as well as grants to local nonprofits to help build awareness and encourage participation in the 2020 Census.
The work of this hub was supported by the state-wide Census 2020 Michigan Nonprofits Count Campaign, managed by the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) in partnership with the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF).
Michigan Nonprofit Association Nonprofits Count – www.mnaonline.org/civic-engagement/census-2020
Apply for census jobs: www.2020census.gov/jobs
George Washington Institute for Public Policy - Counting for Dollars Michigan