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The 2020 Census Count Goes On In Orange County Despite COVID-19

Charitable Ventures, the State-designated Administrative Community-Based Organization (ACBO) focused on 2020 Census outreach in Orange County, is partnering with 77 local community-based organizations to reach and support our Hard-to-Count communities and ensure a fair and accurate count in our region. Through facilitation of the OC Census Community Table, in which nearly 350 organizations are taking part, Charitable Ventures is coordinating messaging around the Census and promoting Census education.

Since July 2019, Charitable Ventures has deployed more than $1.7M to the 77 organizations referenced above, using a mix of both public and private dollars. The California Complete Count Office – Census 2020 awarded a $1.8M contract to Charitable Ventures as the ACBO; additionally, Charitable Ventures, along with the Orange County Community Foundation and OC Grantmakers, raised $1.02M in private philanthropy to augment Census efforts.

The COVID-19 health crisis has dramatically impacted Census outreach and planning efforts. Canvassing and events have been suspended and cancelled, respectively. US Census Bureau field operations are suspended until April 1.  Questionnaire Assistance Centers have closed. Instead, nonprofits are focusing on in-language phone banking and digital outreach. It’s a tremendous pivot from the plans that have been carefully curated over the past 18 months to two years. However, the nonprofits providing outreach are more determined than ever to reach an accurate count.

The U.S. Census, which is required by the U.S. Constitution every 10 years, is our country’s only fully-inclusive opportunity for civic participation to determine how power and money are distributed across America. Data gathered in this nine-question survey is used by government, businesses and nonprofits to determine funding and political representation for the next decade.

When it comes to this year’s Census, Orange County has a lot to gain…and a lot to lose:

  • In 2020, each person counted represents $20,000 over the next 10 years that will—or won’t—go into our community programs, including healthcare, schools, affordable housing, parks, playgrounds, libraries, bus lines, road repair, safety, nutrition programs, and emergency services
  • In 2020, for the first time ever, California is in real danger of losing a seat in the House of Representatives
  • Everyone—regardless of citizenship or immigration status—has the right to get counted

Historically, a number of communities have been undercounted in Orange County, including people of color, children under age 5, individuals experiencing homelessness, veterans and more, costing the region millions in lost resources

Mary Anne Foo, Founder and Executive Director of OCAPICA (Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance) and co-chair of the OC Census Executive Team said, “We know everyone is focused on COVID-19 and rightly so. But the Census is a health care issue – and people need to know that, especially in a time like this. Not only do Census results determine how healthy and vibrant our communities are for the next 10 years (think hospitals, schools, roads and more), the Census determines how much each state gets of the $300 billion in federal aid allotted annually for health care.”

Miguel Hernandez, Executive Director of OCCCO (Orange County Congregation Community Organization) and co-chair of the OC Census Executive Team shared, “Our communities are in great need right now, especially our Hard-to-Count communities. People are losing their jobs, scrambling for alternative childcare, and running out of food. OCCCO, OCAPICA, and our entire Census coalition – all of our community-based partners – are doing our best to make sure we are responding to immediate needs and integrating our Census outreach. Because we need an accurate Census count now more than ever; a complete count will help ensure urgent resources for the future. We urge everyone in Orange County to take a few minutes to fill out the Census today.”

As of March 24, 2020, Orange County is reporting a 26.7% rate of self-response. To learn more about local Census efforts, please visit

Charitable Ventures’ funded partners focused on outreach and training include:

  1. Access California Services
  2. AltaMed
  3. Asian American Senior Citizen Service Center, Inc.
  4. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA
  5. Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove
  6. CAIR-LA (Council on American Islamic Relations)
  7. California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative
  8. CAP OC (Community Action Partnership of Orange County)
  9. Catholic Charities of Orange County
  10. CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights – LA)
  11. CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice)
  12. Coalition of Orange County Community Clinics
  13. Community Health Initiative of Orange County (CHIOC)
  14. Count the Nation
  15. Discovery Cube Orange County
  16. Help Me Grow – CHOC Foundation
  17. Institute for Healthcare Advancement
  18. Jamboree Housing Corporation
  19. Korean Community Services
  20. Korean Resource Center
  21. Latino Health Access
  22. LGBT Center
  23. Madison Park Neighborhood Association
  24. MOMS Orange County
  25. NALEO Educational Fund
  26. OCAPICA (Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance)
  27. OCCCO (Orange County Congregation Community Organization)
  28. OC Human Relations
  29. OC Labor Federation
  30. OC United Way
  31. OC Veterans and Military Families Collaborative
  32. Orange County Civic Engagement Table (OCCET)
  33. Orange County Herald Center
  34. Pretend City
  35. Project Access
  36. Project Kinship
  37. Radio Santa Ana/El Centro Cultural
  38. Resilience OC
  39. Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities
  40. South Asian Network, Inc. (SAN)
  41. Southland Integrated Services
  42. The Cambodian Family
  43. The Kennedy Commission
  44. VietRISE
  45. WAVE (Women for Values and Ethics)

View full press release here.