The Community Foundation of New Jersey today announced it has contributed $80,000 toward a pooled fund focused on ensuring an accurate and complete census count in New Jersey in 2020. This follows a $20,000 grant the Community Foundation made to the Paterson Alliance in 2019 to help in creating an effective task force to ensure all Paterson residents are counted in the 2020 Census. 

The pooled fund, housed at the Princeton Area Community Foundation, includes funds from the Nicholson Foundation and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. The purpose of the pooled fund is to more effectively collect and deploy resources in support of a complete census count in New Jersey.

“The effects of the 2020 Census extend far beyond redistricting and other political considerations,” said Margarethe Laurenzi, Chief Philanthropy Officer at the Community Foundation of New Jersey. “This vital data enables our state’s nonprofit organizations to focus their resources, both where they are needed most and where comparable government funding may be missing. A complete count from the census is key to complete coverage for nonprofit organizations.”

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The federal government uses census data to determine funding levels for each state related to education, housing, infrastructure, and health programs, including those like Medicaid, the National School Lunch Program, and Head Start.

“Whether we have a complete census count in 2020 will have repercussions in our communities for the next decade,” explained Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, and one of the leading nonprofits championing a complete count in the state.  “We will base a decade’s worth of budgeting on this data and, thus, must make sure we have a complete and accurate picture of the community challenges before us. Getting a complete count for New Jersey is about best positioning nonprofit organizations to provide services where federal funding may shift or even disappear.”

The City University of New York estimates that one in four New Jerseyans will be “hard-to-count.” The Census Bureau considers hard-to-count populations those that are hard to contact due to high mobility, hard to interview due to language or literacy barriers, hard to persuade due to suspicion of the government or low civic engagement, or hard to locate due to persons wishing to remain hidden. Many individuals in these hard-to-count populations are also the primary clientele of social service organizations.

Those interested in supporting the Census 2020 New Jersey Counts fund should contact Kiki Jamieson, President of The Fund for New Jersey, at kjamieson@fundfornj.org

About the Community Foundation of New Jersey

The Community Foundation of New Jersey creates and scales custom solutions for purpose-driven individuals, families, and businesses. From creative projects that tackle critical societal or policy issues to scholarship funds, corporate philanthropy, legacy funds and donor advised funds, CFNJ manages nearly every kind of giving vehicle and tailors solutions to meet critical needs.  CFNJ’s team of specialists understand the unique contours of communities and manage the scope of CFNJ investment and grantmaking capabilities with precision.  With $500 million in assets, the Community Foundation grants tens of millions of dollars each year through its more than 1,100 funds: in 2019, CFNJ granted more than $61 million to nonprofits in New Jersey and beyond.