- Our neighbors count.
- Low-income and in-need populations are the most likely groups to be included in hard-to-count areas across the state.
- Health is the area that has the most to lose if there’s an undercount in Texas.
These three simple statements are the guiding principles behind EHF’s $ 1 million effort to promote the 2020 Census across Texas. Our effort is focused on providing needed funding that targets hard-to-count communities in all areas of the state. EHF’s holds leadership roles within Complete Count Committees, statewide campaigns and regional funding efforts. We’re also helping Episcopal congregations learn practical ways to support “get out the count” efforts in their communities.
First, the 2020 Census is a critical health issue in Texas
“No sector is as dependent within the state budget in drawing down federal funds than the health sector, and those funds are based on population that’s determined by the Census,” said Elena Marks, EHF’s president and CEO. “Health clearly stands the most to gain, and the most to lose if there’s an undercount. No sector is as dependent on those federal dollars.”
In fact, experts estimate that a 1% undercount in the Census could cost Texans about $280 million per year for health programs alone. Current forecasts predict anywhere from a 4%-8% undercount in Texas.
The impact of the Census on health in Texas is clear. From political representation to federal funding for clinics, Medicaid, the children’s health insurance program and much more, a complete and accurate Census count is crucial for community health – especially for low-income and vulnerable populations.
That’s why EHF developed a task force and spent more than five months researching local, regional and statewide Census efforts to determine the best funding and engagement opportunities for EHF. The goal was to develop a plan that fits within our current work and would have the largest impact on a fair and accurate count in Texas, especially hard-to-count communities in the most populated areas of the state.
EHF will provide up to $1 million to local, regional and statewide coordinated campaigns across Texas. Each campaign supported by EHF includes a collaboration of funders, community organizations, government groups and others that are providing strategic direction and targeted funding to vital “get-out-the-count” awareness and engagement efforts.
To date, EHF has invested in three primary campaigns that are providing needed resources to numerous organizations working to promote the Census across all areas of Texas.
- Texas Counts Campaign and Pooled Fund – This statewide collaborative effort aims to engage cross-sector leaders and organizations to leverage, amplify, and share resources to promote the 2020 Census. The pooled fund is providing resources that will enable local communities to target outreach efforts and implement best practices that will ensure a fair and accurate count for Texas.
- Houston In Action (HIA) – HIA serves as the convener, facilitator and backbone organizer of the City of Houston/Harris County Complete Count Committee (CCC). The CCC is made up of a broad spectrum of government and community leaders that are developing and implementing a regional 2020 Census awareness campaign.
- Central Texas 2020 Census “Get-Out-The-Count” Grant – This Austin-area effort is organized by the United Way of Greater Austin with funding from EHF and eight other groups. The effort will award up to 30 project grants to qualified community organizations and Complete Count Committees targeting hard-to-count communities in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties.
Along with providing funding, EHF holds key leadership positions in each of the three efforts above that are focused on working with health, philanthropy, and faith-based organizations.
In addition, Elena Marks was part of the historic launch of the City of Houston/Harris County Complete Count Committee.
Congregations and the Census
EHF is also helping Episcopal churches learn more about the basics of the 2020 Census, its importance on health in Texas, and how congregations can get involved in promoting the Census in their communities.
“One of our goals in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas is to meet our neighbors and support our communities. Helping with the 2020 Census is one way we can do this,” said The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and chair of EHF’s Board of Directors. “By assisting in the count, we ensure our neighbors have the support and resources that they need. We are getting to know our neighborhoods so we can serve them better. We are serving our neighborhoods so they can better be served. Our neighbors count.”
EHF’s Congregational Engagement Team has created a 2020 Census Information Hub for congregations and recently produced an introductory webinar to help congregations learn more about the many different ways they can support the work of the 2020 Census.
EHF invites you to learn more about 2020 Census efforts in your community and get involved. If you want to know more or have questions about how to get involved, contact EHF’s Census Task Force.