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As published in The Community Foundation Spotlight in The Press Enterprise on April 6, 2019.

Census 2020
A Riverside organization is helping the CA Census Office make the Inland Empire count.

This week The Community Foundation (TCF) serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties announced its partnership with the state Census Office in efforts to ensure a complete count of California residents. The announcement coincided with the official kickoff of the week-long Census 2020 Call to Action Campaign raising awareness of the state’s efforts to ensure everyone participates. The campaign marks the year countdown to Census Day.   

TCF is one of 10 organizations partnering with the State Census Office to count Inland Empire residents in the 2020 Census. The organization has been designated by the Census Office as an Administrative Community-Based Organization (ACBO). Working with local community-based organizations (CBOs) in hard-to-count communities, TCF will draw down $2.4 million in state funds to support on-the-ground outreach efforts.

Census 2020

“This is a groundbreaking role for The Community Foundation,” Michelle Decker, President and CEO said. “Empowering CBOs from the Inland Empire to assist in these efforts demonstrates their capacity, connections and trust among the hard-to-count populations that they serve.”

The results of the Census have an impact on California’s future, determining representation and funding. The number of Congressmen each state is allotted in the House of Representatives as well as where congressional, state senate, and state assembly district lines are determined by the number of people counted in any given area.

In addition, one-third of California’s state budget is made up of federal funds received for programs that include Medi-Cal and public education. How much of these funds are allotted are determined by Census data.

Census 2020Census data can also have an impact on how much support is available from nongovernmental organizations. Nonprofit organizations and their funders depend on Census data to determine the needs of their communities and how best to fill gaps in services.

“Census 2020 provides data and research that Inland Empire organizations and local government can use to understand their communities and seek resources,” said Decker.

While Census data is critical to demonstrating local needs and securing funding, there are portions of the population that are difficult locate because they do not have a residence. Others are distrusting of sharing their information with Census Collectors. The law requires that the Census Bureau keep information confidential and only uses responses to produce anonymous data.

The efforts to count these individuals across the massive geography of the Inland area requires trusted organizations, planning and coordination.

Census 2020With input from CBOs, seven regions have been identified in order to create manageable goals. Seven Regional Coordinators and three Technical Assistance Providers will provide training and support to assist CBOs in their efforts.

The Regional Coordinators include Warehouse Workers Resource Center (San Bernardino Metro & Mountain Communities Region), Family Services Association (Central Riverside County), Alianza Coachella Valley (Coachella Valley) and organizations to be determined in the High Desert and Morongo Basin. Each of the Regional Coordinators brings local knowledge and proven strategies for reaching hard-to-count communities.

The efforts also include Technical Assistance Providers UCR Center for Social Innovation, Inland Empowerment and NALEO Education Fund. Together, they will provide CBOs with training, data management and innovative mapping support to empower organizations in their outreach work.

The Community Foundation is dedicated to the efforts of a complete count and encourages every community member to mark their calendars and participate. Currently, people can sign up at to receive a reminder notice when the Census opens.

 “We want a complete count of all residents, and this can happen as we empower local organizations across the region with training and technical support for their on-the-ground work,” said Decker. “They are influential messengers and can help reduce the barriers to being counted.”

For more information, visit Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter @censusie.