Census Legacies Toolkit

Introduction

Trusted messengers. Inclusive communities. 

These core principles informed the work of 2020 Census outreach in communities across the country, and they serve as a powerful foundation for building civic infrastructure and initiatives that create more inclusive and equitable communities by 2030.

Census Legacies is a growing network—of funders, nonprofits, businesses, government agencies, and researchers from across the country—building on the foundation of Census outreach tables to ensure that historically undercounted groups have an equal voice in shaping the future of our communities.

Community investments, outreach, and collaborations on the decennial census were some of the few bright spots in 2020, as thousands of census coalitions and Complete Count Committees throughout the country pulled together the most inclusive collaborations ever built, including government agencies, businesses, and community groups serving people of color, immigrants, young people, LGBTQ+, veterans, people with disabilities, and more.

Instead of dismantling these collaboratives and re-assembling them in another eight years, we see an incredible opportunity to grow civic infrastructure and continue harnessing the civic power of community. Most immediately, these coalitions can serve as important trusted messengers and community experts on pandemic recovery, both with respect to vaccine outreach and economic recovery. These ready-made coalitions can also help build a more consistent source of community input on various matters related to regional planning, community development, and policy advocacy. Finally, these coalitions can also improve community engagement and advocacy on various Census data products and tools, including more advance preparation for Census 2030.

The simplest way to sum up the potential for Census Legacies is as follows:

Census Relationships + Data (R+D) = Inclusive Solutions to Community Problems

This toolkit provides guidance to local, regional, state, and tribal governments and other entities looking to build on the foundations of Census relationships and Census data to build more inclusive and equitable communities. 

Version 1 of this toolkit is a general framework that makes the case for particular applications for post-Census work, with audiences that include philanthropy, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, researchers and evaluators. Version 2 of this toolkit (forthcoming in March 2021) will include an appendix with sample grant applications, work plans, and job descriptions that partners can adapt and use.