The Supreme Court’s majority decision to reject the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census correctly recognized the importance of ensuring a fair and accurate count. Getting the Census right is important for all communities, particularly those most likely to be undercounted. When a person is not counted in the census, their entire community and state suffer the consequences.
In 2018, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving joined with more than 100 of the largest and oldest nonprofit philanthropic organizations to urge the Secretary of Commerce to exclude the citizenship question to ensure and fair accurate count. Last year, the Foundation launched a voter registration effort working with neighborhood-based nonprofits that resulted in more than 1,000 new voters and 1,500 pledges to participate in the November elections. The Foundation is supporting a similar voter registration campaign to support participation in the 2019 municipal elections. In addition, the Foundation is implementing a census campaign to support nonprofit providers that have a demonstrated capacity to engage “hard-to-count” populations through effective resident engagement strategies including canvassing, door knocking, and community events.
During the 2019 Legislative Session, the Foundation submitted testimony to the state legislature in support of a failed proposal to allocate funding to support municipal outreach efforts. Our President, Jay Williams, and other Foundation staff are serving on the Hartford and Connecticut Complete Count Committees to plan for full representation of the city and the state in the 2020 Census. The Foundation is also a part of a statewide philanthropic learning community to identify and support effective census outreach and communication strategies.
The Hartford Foundation is committed to working with residents, community organizations, philanthropy and federal, state and municipal officials to do all we can to ensure that every one of our residents is counted in the 2020 Census.