2020 Census grants assist tribal nations and nonprofits with community outreach

Washington Census Alliance

Photo courtesy of Washington Census Alliance.

Group Health Foundation has granted more than $1 million to tribal nations, coalitions, and nonprofits to support their work on this year’s census count. We prioritized work led by people who have been systematically undercounted, many of whom are in places that have been historically designated as “hard to count.” Our grantmaking focus acknowledges undercounting of certain communities is inextricably tied to racism, classism, ableism, and other compounding oppressions.

Community leaders and organizations emphasized the importance of the 2020 Census to their work and the future of their communities. High-stakes decisions are made with census data. Census numbers determine billions of dollars in federal funding for Washington supporting vital services, such as health care, education, housing, and transportation, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in state spending on programs and operations.

Census data also shape the allocation of congressional seats and the drawing of legislative and other districts, affecting elections and policy outcomes from local school boards to the United States Congress for the next decade or longer.

The COVID-19 pandemic and a social and political climate that’s openly hostile to historically undercounted communities have hindered 2020 Census outreach. Despite these conditions, grantees led large-scale census organizing throughout the state.

A statewide coalition of people of color-led organizations, the Washington Census Alliance adopted a community-centered approach to their work. Through a “trusted messenger” model, the alliance trained more than 700 community members in 20 counties to reach more than 20,000 households. Coalition partners also pressured legislators to fund community-led census outreach. Their persistent organizing led to an historic state budget allocation of $15 million for that purpose.

Disability Rights Washington led another wide-reaching effort, producing three videos about the census that was shared with disability communities across the state, specifically in the Tri-Cities, Tacoma, Everett, Spokane, Vancouver, Yakima, Bellingham, and Port Townsend. The agency also partnered with the Cross-Disability Constituent Network to train more than 15 ambassadors to conduct peer-to-peer outreach.

The National Urban Indian Family Coalition’s Washington State strategy funded eight Native organizations serving Seattle, Spokane, Vancouver, and in-lieu fishing sites along the mid-Columbia River. Janeen Comenote, the coalition’s executive director, described Native nonprofits as “tribal embassies in cities” that are instrumental to engagement with urban Native communities.

Group Health Foundation is proud to have supported grantees and their vision for community outreach. Much of the state, including the majority of tribes in Washington, have exceeded their 2010 self-report rate. We believe each success with this year’s census is a testament to the early and persistent work of tribal nations, coalitions, and nonprofit organizations.

List of 2020 Census Outreach Grants

Grantee Name Description Geography
Served
Chinook Indian Nation Tribal nation Pacific and Wahkiakum counties
Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation Tribal nation Yakima and Klickitat counties
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation Tribal nation Ferry and Okanogan counties
Cowlitz Indian Tribe Tribal nation Clark and Cowlitz counties
Disability Rights Washington DRW is a statewide and disability-led agency that provides services to and supports the advocacy of people with disabilities across Washington. Statewide
Duwamish Tribe of Indians Tribal nation King County
Lhaq’temish (Lummi Nation) Tribal nation Whatcom County
Makah Indian Tribe Tribal nation Clallam County
National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC) NUIFC elevates a national voice and sustains indigenous values and culture through a strong network of urban Indian organizations. Statewide
Philanthropy Northwest 2020 Census Project An advocacy project intended to create a public resource stream to support community-based census counting. Statewide
Quinault Nation Tribal nation Grays Harbor and Jefferson counties
Samish Indian Tribe Tribal nation Skagit County
Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe Tribal nation Skagit County
Skokomish Indian Tribe Tribal nation Mason County
Spokane Tribe Tribal nation Spokane and Stevens counties
Washington Census Alliance A statewide coalition of 55 organizations led by and working in communities of color. It is fiscally sponsored by Progreso, the 501c(4) affilitated organization of the Latino Community Fund. Statewide
Swinomish Tribe Tribal nation Skagit County