Grants fund grass roots Census outreach

Nearly $4 million in grants awarded to 63 Valley nonprofits to increase Census participation among hard-to-count populations

The Sun-Gazette

TULARE COUNTY – Three Tulare County nonprofits were awarded more than $25,000 each to ensure the underrepresented populations they serve will be counted in the 2020 Census. 

On Jan. 9, The Source LGBT+ Center in Visalia, El Quinto Sol de America in Lindsay and Californians for Pesticide Reform in Tulare County were among 63 community-based organizations throughout nine counties in San Joaquin Valley to receive funding to provide hands-on, linguistically and culturally appropriate census outreach to hard-to-count communities. The Source received a $30,000 grant to increase census participation in the county’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender residents through outreach activities, messaging campaigns and special events. El Quinto Sol and Californias for Pesticide Reform received their funding as part of the Pesticide Action Network North America Regional Center. El Quinto Sol received $40,000 to increase participation in rural residents by establishing trust, open communications about the census, dispel misinformation and to provide hands-on assistance. Californians for Pesticide Reform received $25,000 to increase participating for hard-to-count farmworker and agriculture community members by holding platicas, or community chats, social and ethnic media, and by lending a helping hand through trusted, grass roots leaders. 

The $3.8 million in funding came from The Center at Sierra Health Foundation specifically for California’s census Region 6, which includes Fresno, Tulare, Kings, Kern and Inyo Counties. Awarded grantee partners were required to demonstrate established relationships with hard-to-count communities that are most likely to be undercounted in 2020 Census efforts, such as Latino, African American, Asian, LGBTQ, immigrant and non-English speaking populations, people with disabilities and others. Funded activities to increase census understanding and participation include house meetings, canvassing, phone banking, community media and small group interactive presentations, mobile assistance centers, art-focused events, hands-on assistance and more. A full list of organizations that received grants is available at the Center’s website. 

“The census is not only important because it helps determine federal funding for essential supportive programs and political representation but because it is, ultimately, about being seen. Everyone in California is a contributor to the story of our state and the story of the Valley is rich and powerful – we must ensure everyone is included,” said Chet P. Hewitt, president and CEO of The Center at Sierra Health Foundation. “With trusted community partners from our hardest-to-count communities educating and supporting their neighbors, family members and friends, we have the best chance to achieve a fair and complete count of every Californian.” 

As manager of the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund, a community driven network of approximately 120 community-based organizations and 23 funder partners, The Center leverages investments through a cluster of census-focused funders to support census research, advocacy and outreach. In March 2019, the State of California announced The Center as one of its 10 Administrative Community Based Organization (ACBO) partners funded to promote increased participation of hard-to-count populations in Census 2020.

“We believe trusted messengers will make the difference in resonating with Californians on the importance of the Census,” said Ditas Katague, Director of the California Complete Count – Census 2020 Office. “By allocating this funding, Region 6 will have a network of partners that are culturally and linguistically appropriate for census outreach to its hard-to count communities.”

$2.1 million in support is being provided to 15 community organizations through the state’s investment in ACBO grassroots outreach, included in the State’s $42.15 million to community-based organizations across the state. The Center is also funding $1.7 million to more than 50 community partner organizations through the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund’s Census Cluster, supported by Sierra Health Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, Blue Shield of California Foundation, Hellman Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The Grove Foundation, Werner-Kohnstamm Family Giving Fund, New Venture Fund, Sunlight Giving, HeisingSimons Foundation, Libra Foundation, The Beacon Fund, Chann-Zuckerberg Initiative and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees/College Futures Fund.

The Center at Sierra Health Foundation works to promote health and racial equity in communities throughout California with local, state and national partners. To learn more about The Center’s San Joaquin Valley census efforts visit

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