For Immediate Release: Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Contact: Rachel Levine, firstname.lastname@example.org
University Settlement Announced as Complete Count Fund Awardee
Joining Citywide Effort to Ensure a Fair and Complete Count
New York, NY— University Settlement is pleased to announce it has received a $100,000 award from the NYC Complete Count Fund — a partnership between CUNY, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council. The NYC Complete Count Fund is a first-of-its-kind Census-related community organizing program that will support and resource community-based organizations to help NYC reach a full and accurate count in the 2020 Census. These funds will support our programs to reach community members who could be overlooked and undercounted in the process, in particular, children under five years old, public housing residents, older adults, and communities of color.
The Complete Count Fund was built with the understanding that local community-based organizations — which serve New Yorkers in the communities where they live and in the languages that they speak — are the most trusted messengers of important and sensitive information.
University Settlement is proud to join this coordinated citywide effort to build awareness about the census, convey its importance, fight the spread of mis- and disinformation, and help bridge the digital divide that might prevent many New Yorkers from participating in next year's first online census.
We plan to operate pop-up centers in a variety of central community spaces across multiple neighborhoods, including at some University Settlement sites where we already have programming. Specifically, we anticipate that our Cornerstone Community Centers, as well as the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments where we work, will be prime pop-up locations as these are community hubs that participants already feel comfortable visiting and where we have established relationships and connections. Since we already know these locations, we know that they are both suitable and available, and our census staff will visit these locations with the technological equipment (e.g. tablets, Wifi hot spots) and informational resources needed to administer the census.
The goal of our census outreach through this grant is to engage thousands of individuals through education outreach and awareness-raising and to collect up to 5,000 commitment cards (self-response indicating that someone will participate in the census). In addition, we are thrilled to receive a $5,000 grant from Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer, which will assist with focused census education and outreach work in our early childhood sites.
In response, University Settlement's Executive Director Melissa Aase commented:
"Our award from the Complete Count Fund will fuel our partnerships with community leaders to reach every corner of our communities and will ensure all our neighbors have a voice, representation, and resources for the coming decade. The digitization of the 2020 census is one of our main concerns and with the additional funds, we will be equipped with the necessary resources which will guarantee our communities are fully included.
We are also thrilled to be a beneficiary of the Manhattan Borough President's grant which will allow our dedicated staff to focus their efforts on our early childhood programs. Thank you to CUNY, Mayor Bill de Blasio, the New York City Council, and Gale Brewer for advocating with us."
A complete and accurate count is critical to the future of New York City. The census will determine how more than $650 billion in federal funds for public education, public housing, roads and bridges, and more, gets distributed annually throughout the country. It will also determine the number of seats each state is allocated in the House of Representatives (and thus, the Electoral College). Based on current estimates, an undercount could cost the State of New York up to two congressional seats.
In such a complex city, enriched by such linguistic and cultural diversity, New York City's full participation in the first online census faces a unique set of challenges. As New Yorkers, we have embraced these challenges as an opportunity. Together, these citywide efforts will lay the groundwork for a civic engagement apparatus that will continue well beyond the 2020 census.
The Complete Count Fund will launch in early January with an all-day kick-off event and training.
About University Settlement
University Settlement has pioneered highly effective and measurable programs that have brought radical and tangible change to the people of New York for over 130 years. Every year we engage over 40,000 New York residents of all ages at 29 locations. Our comprehensive network of highly effective programs includes early childhood education, mental health services, eviction prevention, and benefits assistance, adult education, healthy aging programs, community and recreation centers, performing and visual arts, and youth development programs. We continue to listen, lead, and evolve with our NYC neighborhoods.
About NYC Census 2020
NYC Census 2020 was established as a first-of-its-kind organizing initiative by Mayor de Blasio to ensure a complete and accurate count of all New Yorkers in the 2020 Census. The program is built on four pillars: (1) a community-based awards program, The New York City Complete Count Fund; (2) an in-house "Get Out the Count" field campaign; (3) an innovative, multi-lingual, tailored messaging and marketing; as well as (4) an in-depth Agency and Partnerships engagement plan that seeks to leverage the power of the City's 350,000-strong workforce and the city's major institutions, including libraries, hospitals, faith-based, cultural institutions, and higher educational institutions, and more, to communicate with New Yorkers about the critical importance of census participation.