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California State Census Office Awards $1.6M to “Count Me 2020 Coalition”

Funds to Assist Reaching Hard to Count Communities in San Diego and Imperial Counties

Coalition of Over 100 Local Community Partners Involved in Effort Led by United Way of San Diego County

San Diego CACount Me 2020, a coalition of over 100 community-based organizations and other partners, led by the United Way of San Diego County, has been awarded a major contract of $1.66 million to coordinate Census 2020 outreach. The contract from the California Complete Count Committee designates United Way of San Diego County as the Primary Administrative Community-Based Organization (ACBO) for San Diego and Imperial Counties (Region 10) with a mandate to ensure that everyone in the region is counted.

San Diego and Imperial Counties have some of the hardest to count regions in California, with an estimated 255,000 to 783,000 individuals considered extremely hard to count. The Count Me 2020 Coalition and its partners will use trusted community messengers across both counties to ensure that hard to count communities are accurately counted. This outreach by community-based organizations will also address specific language needs, crucial in a region with over 80 distinct languages.

“As a trusted local nonprofit for 99 years, United Way is excited and honored to be leading the Count Me 2020 Coalition in this crucial work, as our focus is always on aligning and leveraging local resources and partners,” said United Way of San Diego County President and CEO Nancy L. Sasaki. “Further, our family stability work requires that we have an accurate census count across all populations, as this impacts programs such as SNAP, Medicaid and other funding sources for families.”

A complete and accurate count is essential to ensure federal, state and county dollars are adequately distributed to local communities, as well as to determine future congressional seats.

Alan Kaplan, director of Engage San Diego, a community engagement network that works to build civic infrastructure, said: “Engage San Diego is proud to be working with United Way of San Diego County and the Count Me 2020 Coalition to support this important work! The Count Me 2020 Coalition is the broadest group of partners in the region, committed to making sure that all of us can work together to reach the hardest to count populations. We worked hard to make sure that we would have the most inclusive and community-focused RFP in the state, and we are elated that the State of California recognized our commitment! Now we have to get to work and make some real impact to count everybody in 2020!”

Arcela Nuñez-Alvarez, research director of the National Latino Research Center at California State University San Marcos works with community-based organizations and local government to foster regional collaboration and provide training to prepare a multilingual and multicultural cadre of community educators, promotores and community leaders to serve as census outreach ambassadors. Dr. Nuñez-Alvarez said, “It is our civic duty to uphold the Constitution ensuring every person is counted in Census 2020. Everyone can help to reduce or eliminate barriers to participation by helping our family and neighbors understand the importance of the census, how to participate and reminding them that in our democracy, every person counts and matters!”

The Coalition has been meeting regularly since December 2018 to develop inclusive community engagement processes, gain local buy-in, and share information regarding deadlines, structures and support networks available to groups interested in supporting the Census. This collaborative process will continue as additional community-based subcontractors and collaborators are determined in the coming months to support Census outreach.

To learn more about the outreach and implementation of the Count Me 2020 Plan, please join the Coalition, attend the next community meeting on March 26, and save the date for the Region 10 launch on April 2. Details can be found at www.countme2020.org.