What is the Census and why is it important for Alexandria?
Beginning in mid-March, all Alexandrians will be called upon to be counted as part of the 2020 Census. Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, every ten years our country counts every resident. ACT envisions a City that embraces residents from all walks of life and where everyone can fully participate in our civic life and economic prosperity. Census data helps us understand the full story of our community by counting everyone who lives here.
Failure to count all Alexandrians is a threat to representational democracy and the values that are core to our country. An undercount means fewer dollars for schools, housing vouchers and many critical federal programs that our community members depend upon. Despite the importance, the decision to participate in the 2020 Census is not an easy one for all Alexandrians. Census data will primarily be connected online; not everyone (including the elderly and disadvantaged households) has access to the Internet. In addition, the Census Bureau has less funding allocated to support the Census than in 2010, resulting in less outreach and fewer staff to provide assistance. Finally, many of our neighbors have a legitimate distrust of the federal government and are fearful that Census data may be used against them and their families.
Specifically, children under 5, the elderly, immigrants and historically marginalized communities are at risk of not being counted. The importance of the 2020 Census is not just about the flow of federal dollars; we see our work to ensure a complete count as an expression of our commitment to racial equity. It’s about ensuring that we are an inclusive community that values everyone who lives here; that everyone is counted and seen as an Alexandrian.
ACT's Support of the 2020 Census:
ACT is partnering with foundations across the region to mobilize resources and influence to support a complete count in the 2020 Census and participating on the City’s Complete Count Committee.
We think it’s important that Census outreach is not another “unfunded mandate” placed on Alexandria nonprofits and their stakeholders. In 2019 we led a brainstorming session with the Alexandria Council of Human Service Organizations network to identify ways nonprofits can integrate Census outreach into their normal, day-to-day work. In addition, knowing that nonprofits and their constituents are trusted messengers in the community, ACT provided grant funding to Casa Chirilagua to provide structured training and stipends to community members who will serve as Census Ambassadors in the Arlandria neighborhood.
ACT is also allocating $10,000 for Census Mini Grants to assist with outreach and awareness building activities in hard to count communities in Alexandria. We anticipate awarding $250 - $1,000 grants, based on the need and request.
FAQs for Nonprofits:
1. How do I apply for a Census Mini Grant?
Apply online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/actcensusminigrants
2. Who is eligible to apply for a Census Mini Grant?
Nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations that meet the following criteria are encouraged to apply.
- Organizations that serve one or more of the communities at-risk for being undercounted including children under 5, the elderly, immigrants and historically marginalized communities.
- Organizations must use funds to serve Alexandria residents and must focus on Census outreach and awareness building activities in Alexandria.
3. What are types of activities will be funded through the Census Mini Grants?
Examples include hosting an information session about the Census, providing stipends to youth or adults to distribute Census materials to community members, any type of outreach activity or event that will help boost awareness about the Census. Note: We want to encourage nonprofits to identify ways to incorporate Census outreach into their on-going work.
4. What is the size of a Census Mini Grant?
We anticipate awarding $250 - $1,000 grants, based on the need and request.
5. When will grants be awarded?
ACT will award grants from March 4 – July 30 (pending funding availability). Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning March 4 and nonprofits will receive notification of a decision within 7 days and the grant award within the next 7 days.
FAQs for Donors:
1. How can I support the Census?
- Complete the Census for your household.
- Talk about the importance of participating in the 2020 Census with your friends, colleagues and neighbors.
- Connect with your congregation and/or other community organizations to see how you can partner with them to spread the word.
- Financially support “get out the count” efforts including donating to the ACT Census Mini Grant pool.
2. How can I support the Census Mini Grants?
You can make a donation to ACT for Alexandria and designate these funds for the Census Mini Grants. Online donations can be made here.
Or mailed to 201 N. Union Street, Suite 110, Alexandria, VA 22314.
3. How will my donation be used?
Your donation will support outreach and awareness building activities promoting the 2020 Census to communities at-risk for not being counted.
4. When will funds be awarded?
ACT will award grants from March 4 – July 30 (pending funding availability).
Please contact Brandi Yee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-739-7778.