September 11 2018

Sacramento, Calif., (September 11, 2018) – The California Endowment today announced the creation of a $10 million fund to support statewide outreach and education efforts for the upcoming 2020 census. These efforts will focus on the ten to fourteen million Californians considered “hard-to-count populations” including immigrants, communities of color, LGBTQ, lower-income families and others.

This investment is coming at a crucial moment as the federal government considers adding a question to the 2020 census questionnaire asking residents about their citizenship status. The addition of the question has prompted legal challenges by several states, including California where there is already a heightened climate of fear and mistrust in government.

“As the most populous and diverse state in the nation, California has the highest stakes of any state in the 2020 Census,” said Dr. Robert K. Ross, President and CEO of The California Endowment. “It’s incredibly important we ensure every Californian is counted no matter their socioeconomic or immigration status. We thank California Governor Jerry Brown, the state legislature and their select committees, for their leadership. We recognize we have an important role to play alongside the state, philanthropy and other partners across all public and private sectors. Only through working together will we achieve a complete and fair count.”

The Endowment’s $10 million commitment will complement the $90.3 million allocated by the State of California. The Endowment’s resources will support the following:

  • State and regional level advocacy, education and cross-sector coordination
  • Statewide coordination of philanthropic efforts
  • Media, communications and message testing
  • Planning and implementation of regional Get Out the Count (GOTC) strategies
  • Technical assistance
  • Evaluation
  • Rapid response funding for low response census tracts and unforeseen issues

Under the United States Constitution, the census serves as a fundamental building block for our democracy, affecting not only the apportionment of each  state’s representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, but also the federal level of investments in local communities.

Census data serves as an essential public health tool that allows public health officials, practitioners, advocates and philanthropy to address public health issues and see trends over time. For the census to be useful for both the public and the private sector, it must be inclusive of all persons living in the country, not just citizens.

Data collected through the census informs a range of local services and decisions including location of schools, hospitals and housing, and helps the private sector make investment decisions about facilities, hiring, and marketing. Census data also influences the allocation of more than $800 billion in federal government resources every year to states and localities. And, the data is used to draw local and state district lines.

“The California Endowment’s core values are fairness, inclusion, and health and justice for all,” Ross added. “We believe the new question presents an overwhelming barrier to ensuring a complete count in California, and we have joined a chorus of voices urging the United States Commerce Department to withdraw the citizenship question.”

The Endowment joined more than 300 foundations in signing a letter filed with the Commerce Department, rebuking the question. That letter can be found at this link.


About The California Endowment                                                 

The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental affordable improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people’s health. Through its ‘Health Happens Here’ campaign and ten-year initiative for Building Healthy Communities, The Endowment is creating places where children are healthy, safe and ready to learn. At its core, The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. For more information, visit The California Endowment’s homepage at

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