Census 2020: What’s At Risk And What Can Philanthropy Do Now?

GWP Members Only Program
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
3:30pm to 5:30pm EDT
QIT Center
650 Smithfield Street 26th Floor
Pittsburgh PA 15222
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The Census Bureau faces a daunting set of challenges as it prepares for the 2020 census. Due to budget constraints, the Bureau is planning to collect the majority of census information online. Door-to-door outreach will be curtailed and canvassing scaled back. While these changes will reduce the rising cost of collecting census data, it also increases the likelihood of undercounting young children, minorities, low-income individuals, and other marginalized groups. The 2010 census grossly undercounted our most vulnerable populations, and with the proposed changes for 2020, the risk for reoccurrence is greatly increased.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of a fair and accurate census count. When census information is not accurate, it threatens to muffle the voices of undercounted groups and communities and undermine the basic political equality that is central to our democracy. The census directs hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding to hospitals, infrastructure projects, and education each year. Other institutions across the country, including local and state governments, businesses, nonprofits and foundations, routinely rely on data from the census to allocate resources, define where services are delivered and promote economic development. It is important that the Census Bureau get the 2020 census right, and to get it right, it must be adequately funded and all residents (including undocumented ones) must be encouraged to share their information with the government.   

Join us to learn more about the challenges to a fair census, and how undercounts hurt everyone – not just the undercounted groups.  We will also hear from state, county and city representatives to learn what has to happen on the ground, and the roles that philanthropy can play to help ensure a fair and accurate count.


Perla Ni, CEO, Great Nonprofits/ Founder, Census Outreach Project

Gary Bass, Executive Director, Bauman Foundation

Erin Casey, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Voice

Mary Esther Van Shura, Director of Community Affairs, Allegheny County

Feyisola Alabi, Manager of Welcoming Pittsburgh, Office of the Mayor

Note: For a primer on why the 2020 Census matters, please visit GWP’s resource page and review our recent Keystone Policy Series webinar on the subject. Attending this meeting with this foundational information will allow us to more readily dive into a discussion about what funders can do to help.

Program time: 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm, followed by a reception.