Millions in federal funding that support vital services in the Valley are at stake
Allentown, Pa., November 11, 2019—The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation is dedicating funding and resources to ensure a complete and accurate count for the Census 2020. LVCF is partnering with nonprofit organizations to support efforts aimed at getting an accurate count in Census track areas in Allentown’s center city, Bethlehem’s southside and Easton’s West Ward, which are areas that were undercounted by more than 30% in 2010, resulting in lost federal funding—for the past ten years.
Four nonprofit organizations are receiving $10,000 grants to implement a variety of tactics to address these areas and beyond as part of the Community Foundation’s Civic Engagement: Census 2020 initiative. They include: Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley, Allentown; Hispanic Center of Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem; Project of Easton, Easton; and Make the Road Pennsylvania, Allentown.
“LVCF is taking a leadership role in the Lehigh Valley to invest staff-time, resources, and funding to ensure every person is counted in the Census 2020,” said Megan Briggs, director of community investments at the Community Foundation. “In Pennsylvania, we receive $39 billion dollars each year from census-derived data to support federal programs ranging from investments in infrastructure and technology to supporting healthcare and education. An undercount of the estimated 670,000 Lehigh Valley residents puts federal funding at risk, while also decreasing the amount of representation our community has in government.”
The Community has established and seeded the Census Equity Fund at LVCF to support numerous initiatives:
- Funding key organizations that serve historically undercounted communities in Lehigh and Northampton counties
- Supporting projects that will build awareness about the importance of the Census and increase community’s participation in the count
- Providing organizations with technical assistance and training
- Co-chairing a regional complete count committee (CCC) with the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, and staff are represented on five regional CCCs
- Partnering with the region’s nonprofit, business, and government stakeholders
- Planning several events and initiatives to build awareness in partnership with other organizations throughout the region
- Reaching at-risk areas through media campaigns
- Building awareness through events for nonprofits and area philanthropy
“An undercount will increase the demands placed on the area’s nonprofits and the philanthropic community to try to fill the gap of decreased federal funds and services,” said Bernie Story, LVCF president and CEO. “Instead of needing to make up that gap, we are proactively funding efforts and investing resources to ensure a complete and accurate count.”
The Community Foundation grants for Census 2020 are directed towards organizations that have the network, relationships and trust in the community to effectively convey the importance of the census. Those funding in 2019-2020 include:
Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley, a community organizing agency serving center city Allentown, will utilize neighborhood connectors, laying the groundwork for door-to-door outreach with neighbors, work with local businesses to increase awareness. They are planning community events, pop-up booths and other initiatives to engage the community. They will support their grass-roots approach with social media and other culturally-appropriate marketing content.
Project of Easton conducts literacy, adult and family education (ESL classes), and workforce training programs with wraparound services. They will engage low-income clients many of whom are limited English-speaking adults, families and seniors about the 2020 Census. ProJeCt will distribute Census materials and offer linguistic and technological support, not only through their programs but also to Food Pantry clients, helping to reach low-income families who may not have the computer access. They will provide computer labs for people to complete the census online, and distribute educational materials.
Hispanic Center of Lehigh Valley empowers individuals to become more self-sufficient by helping low-income community members connect to social services, employment, English language and computer classes, healthy foods, affordable housing, and other community resources. HCLV will work on increasing awareness and building engagement among the Hispanic population by conducting street outreach working with college networks. They will also utilize their intake center to raise awareness.
Make the Road Pennsylvania, dedicated to organizing the working class in Latino communities and building power for justice, will produce educational materials for community leaders, conduct workshops and training, serve as a hub for community members, and conduct two rounds of door-to-door outreach.
For more information: visit www.lvcfoundation.org/census2020