Building Philanthropy to Build a Better Florida

Census 2020

Census data helps determine allocation of government resources and ensure fair political representation for Floridians and all Americans. The 2020 Census is facing unprecedented challenges, and although philanthropy cannot and should not supplant the government’s responsibility to ensure a fair and accurate census, funder engagement in support of the census is more important than ever. 

Since the bureau is facing budget constraints like never before, it is planning to collect the majority of census information online, scale back door-to-door outreach and roll back canvassing. These changes increase the potential of undercounting young children, minorities, low-income individuals and other marginalized individuals.

  • Institutions across the state, including foundations, routinely rely on data from the census to allocate funding, define where services are delivered and promote economic development.
  • More than one third (33.2%) of Florida’s general revenues come from federal aid ($25.5 billion). Without an accurate Census, Florida residents could be denied the full funding they deserve and need – and elected officials won’t be able to make informed decisions for your constituents for more than a decade on a range of issues.
  • Make sure all Floridians count! Congress must fully fund the 2020 Census in order to ensure all residents are counted and our basic democratic institutions are not threatened nor our constitutional duty ignored. Support appointing a credible census director and oppose unfair citizenship questions.

More than $600 billion annually in federal assistance to states, localities, and families is distributed based on census data, yet historically, the census has missed disproportionate numbers of people of color, young children and the rural and urban poor, leading to inequality in political power and in access to public funding and private investment for these communities. Going into 2020, additional communities, including immigrants and refugees, unmarried women and the LGBTQ community are at risk of being missed.

If you think underfunding the Census won't affect your community, consider that $29 billion in federal funds is distributed to our state based on census data. Furthermore, in 50 counties, we have at least one hard-to-count community with low mail response rates in the 2010 census. Being hard-to-count can lead to unequal political representation and unequal access to vital public and private resources for these groups and their communities. Our state has so much at stake, and we need to ensure a fair and accurate census.

So what can you do?

1. Review the Funder Menu of Options

Created in partnership by United Philanthropy Forum and the Funders Census Initiative (FCI 2020) the Funder Menu of Options helps funders identify what they can to do.

2. Register for the April 9 webinar

Join the Funders Census Initiative, United Philanthropy Forum, and our co-sponsoring partners for an April 9 webinar, Participate. Convene. Invest.: A Call to Action for the 2020 Census.

3. Join the Funders Census Initiative Working Group

As a Funders Census Initiative Working Group member, you’ll have access to the core listserv for funders to connect on their work at the national, state, and local levels. Later this year, we’ll also be launching a password protected portal for working group members to share additional resources. There is no cost, and you don’t need to be a FCCP member to join.

4. Create your local/regional message using FPN's Advocacy Libs

Complete FPN's Advocacy Lib on fully funding the Census 2020 and contact your legislators with your customized message! 


Monday, April 9, 2018 - 2:00pm
Participate. Convene. Invest.: A Call to Action for Philanthropy

We are now less than two years away from “Census Day,” April 1st, 2020! Join a conversation about why the census matters and the role that philanthropy can play in ensuring a fair and accurate count. Data from the census drive key decisions made by government, business, nonprofits and philanthropy. Although philanthropy cannot and should not supplant the government’s responsibility to ensure a fair and accurate census, funder engagement in support of the census is more important than ever.

Thursday, March 29, 2018 - 4:00pm
Emergency Briefing on Adding Citizenship Question to the 2020 Census

Thursday, March 29 at 4 - 5 p.m. ET

Hosted by Funders Census Initiative, a Working Group of Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation

Co-sponsored by Florida Philanthropic Network

On March 26, around 9 p.m., Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 decennial census, in response to a request from the Department of Justice. FPN members are invited to join the Funders Census Initiative this Thursday for an emergency web briefing for funders to understand what happened, the implications of adding the question and to begin a discussion about how to respond to the new question.

Moderated by Gary Bass, Executive Director, Bauman Foundation [bio]


  • Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights [bio]
  • Arturo Vargas, Executive Director, NALEO Educational Fund [bio]
  • John Yang, President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice [bio]
How does a Census 2020 undercount affect your funding priorities?

Fair, proportionate voting representation in our democracy depends on valid census data. That’s why the census is required by the U.S. Constitution. Federal agencies rely on census and American Community Service (ACS) data to monitor discrimination and implement civil rights laws that protect voting rights, equal employment opportunity, and more. Census and ACS data also determine federal funding for health care, education, housing, food and income security, rural access to broadband, and other services. Communities of color, urban and rural low-income households, immigrants, and young children are all at risk of being missed at disproportionately high rates. Being undercounted deprives already vulnerable communities of fair representation and vital community resources.

FPN's FOTH18 Toolkit

FPN's FOTH18 Toolkit prepares Florida Philanthropic Network members to educate on issues affecting Florida grantmakers; encourage Congress to view foundations as resources on key public policy issues; and connect with grantmakers from outside Florida and learn how they are approaching policy in their home states. FPN's FOTH18 Toolkit includes a one-pager and expanded sections like, Why are we here?, Co-Investors in the Community (Key Issues) and Being Social at FOTH. The 2018 Toolkit also introduces FPN's Advocacy Libs – fill-in-the-blank templates to help craft messaging for elected officials on key issues!