United Way of the Columbia Willamette is committed to a fair and accurate census count. We recognize that many key safety net programs which support our kids and families are funded via census data including SNAP, school lunches, Head Start, short-term rental assistance and many more programs. UWCW is proud to serve as a partner and fiscal agent for CEFCO, a collaborative of philanthropic organizations working to reduce the undercount in the 2020 census.

The Census Equity Funders Committee of Oregon (CEFCO) applauds the Supreme Court’s ruling that the citizenship question cannot, for now, be added to the 2020 Census. Preserving the integrity of the census upholds a fundamental element of our democracy, and CEFCO stands with so many of our community members to support this rejection. The Commerce Department and the Census Bureau should respect the Supreme Court’s decision and immediately proceed with preparations for a 2020 Census that does not include the citizenship question.

CEFCO is a diverse group of philanthropic organizations, with differences in our missions and populations we serve. Yet, we all agree that a fair and accurate census count is fundamental to our work and to Oregon.

In addition to telling the story of who lives in Oregon, census data will determine our congressional representation and allocation of Federal resources to our state for the next decade. Census data is used to fund roads and transportation infrastructure, provide Medicare and SNAP benefits, housing and education subsidies, and much more. This is funding our state and communities need, that local government and philanthropy are not able to provide alone.

This ruling heeds the concerns of philanthropy, civil rights groups, business leaders, statisticians, and former Census Bureau directors in calling for an accurate census and leaving the untested citizenship question off the 2020 Census. And it eliminates one barrier to ensuring a fair and accurate count of all communities, including historically undercounted groups like young children, immigrants, low-income families, and communities of color.

Even without the inclusion of the citizenship question on the census, significant fear, mistrust, and confusion in communities remain as barriers to a fair and accurate 2020 Census. Moreover, cuts and delays in federal funding, turnover within the census bureau, and issues regarding internet access and cybersecurity for the first online census are additional barriers in 2020. 

CEFCO remains committed to supporting a fair and accurate census. We’ve joined with leaders from across the private and public sectors to support the census campaign to ensure every Oregonian is counted. Over the coming months, we will continue to stand up for the resources and representation our communities need to succeed.

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CEFCO is a collaborative of philanthropic organizations working to reduce the undercount in the 2020 census by helping to raise $10 million of public and private funding to support community capacity for census engagement in Hard to Count (HTC) communities.  If you would like to get involved in the HTC campaign, learn more about CEFCO or make a donation to the aligned Census Equity Fund, please contact Lauren Gottfredson at laureng@unitedway-pdx.org.

To learn more about CEFCO, visit Census Equity Fund of Oregon: Funding an Equitable 2020 Census Count.

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