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The 2020 census was among the most fraught in recent history, with threats to a fair and complete count posed by the global pandemic and the federal administration's attempt to limit the inclusion of immigrants. Fortunately, funders and other stakeholders built on the lessons of census 2010, and the California Census 2020 Statewide Funders Initiative coordinated investments with the state to maximize the number of Californians counted. This report documents learnings from the California Census 2020 Statewide Funders Initiative.
Participation in the census is critical to the well-being of future generations of Los Angeles County. Census data plays an integral role in influencing the allocation of millions of dollars in federal funding for vital services and programs for our communities — from schools and hospitals to housing and roads. The census also determines the number of congressional members sent to the Capitol to represent our region, making an accurate count in Los Angeles County profoundly important.In a landmark effort, California Community Foundation (CCF) convened a powerful coalition of 115+ community-based organizations (CBOs) across the region to count historically under-counted populations, coordinated and united under one region-wide campaign: We Count LA. As trusted messengers with deep relationships and connections in their respective communities, these CBOs would be the faces and voices of the census, encouraging the diverse and vulnerable communities of Los Angeles County to participate in the 2020 Census. Amid the unforeseen global and national events of 2020, this task became seemingly impossible. Yet the unifying force of community resilience pushed the We Count LA campaign to become responsive, adaptive and innovative in trying to accomplish its goals.