Civic Leadership

Every Rhode Islander Counts

The Rhode Island Foundation has committed $250,000 to local outreach and education efforts aimed at ensuring a fair and accurate count of all Rhode Islanders for Census 2020.

Our board of directors recently voted to send a clear message – every Rhode Islander counts, so every Rhode Islander must be counted. The Rhode Island Foundation is committing $250,000 to local outreach and education efforts aimed at ensuring a fair and accurate count of all Rhode Islanders for Census 2020.

That commitment, combined with additional grants made to Census 2020-related efforts (detail below), brings the Foundation’s total current investment in this work to just over $350,000. We are also proud to serve on the Rhode Island Complete Count Committee, created by Governor Raimondo’s executive order.

We recognize that past Censuses have undercounted communities of color, people living in poverty, young children, and those living in rural locations. Political representation is core to our democracy, so an undercount is bad for Rhode Island. And, we know firsthand how Census data is relied upon to guide decision-making and resource allocation by businesses, philanthropy, and government. For example, businesses consult Census data when making siting, research, and development decisions, philanthropic organizations use Census data when making strategy and funding decisions, government – at all levels - relies on Census data to allocate precious resources that support the public.

In fact, according to the Counting for Dollars project at the George Washington University Institute of Public Policy, in fiscal year 2016 Rhode Island received approximately $3.8B through 55 federal spending programs – guided by data derived from the 2010 Census. An incomplete or inaccurate Census count in 2020 will affect the allocation of those funds – and in turn will impact the funding that supports vital community assets like highways, schools, and hospitals, as well as programs that support community members who meet the criteria to receive special education services, free and reduced school lunch, Medicaid, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), foster care, and more.

We’re making investments in Census 2020 outreach and education efforts because we know that this is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to learn about the communities we serve, ensure fair representation, and encourage civic participation. And, we’re calling on other local funders, public officials, and the business community to join us. Invest with us in this effort. We know you believe that all Rhode Islanders count, so let’s make sure all Rhode Islanders are counted.

Foundation Investments in Census 2020 Preparation

  • $250,000 2020 Census outreach and education efforts
  • $43,000 to the City of Central Falls for its Local Update of Census Addresses organizing effort, Everybody Counts/Todos Cuentan
  • $40,000 to fund the development of an outreach plan for the Rhode Island Complete Count Committee
  • $25,000 to the New Venture Fund, a national group of funders working on the 2020 Census Project
  • $18,500 to ARISE (Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education) to fund targeted outreach to members of the Southeast Asian community in preparation for the 2020 Census.

Support our efforts to assure that every Rhode Islander is counted. The Rhode Island Census 2020 Fund will support awareness-building, outreach, and engagement activities so that every Rhode Islander will understand the importance of being counted in Census 2020.

Help us by supporting a complete count and giving to the Rhode Island Census 2020 Fund.