Greater Cleveland coalition announces second round of 2020 census outreach microgrants to 23 organizations

More than $150,000 awarded to date to reach Hard-to-Count populations

Release Date: 6.10.2020

CLEVELAND – The Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation, Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation and two members of the Ohio Census Advocacy Coalition (OCAC) – Cleveland VOTES and the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio – have awarded $40,000 in the second round of census microgrants aimed at increasing participation in the 2020 census among Hard-to-Count (HTC) populations. In March, 37 Northeast Ohio organizations shared $113,000 in the initial round of grantmaking.

Accredited 501(c)3 organizations that are working to get an accurate census count in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties were eligible to apply for the microgrants, which ranged from $1,000 to $5,000. The complete list of the 23 awardees follows at the end of the release.

“The Cleveland VOTES team appreciates the flexibility of our philanthropic partners during these tumultuous times,” said Erika Anthony, Cleveland VOTES co-founder. “Prior to COVID-19, community partners arduously prepared dynamic 2020 Census efforts in Hard-to-Count communities. While many of our plans have been impacted by the global pandemic, this moment is enabling partners to empower residents to recognize the census’ significance as it connects to essential resources such as healthcare accessibility, transportation equity, education, digital equity, and more.”

Examples of the second round of outreach efforts include:

  • Cleveland Clergy Alliance will disseminate information throughout its many church pantries in and around the Cleveland area, which serve more than 5,000 people each month – many in areas identified as Hard-to-Count. The organization is also conducting virtual town hall meetings with pastors in the alliance and asking them to include census information on their respective websites and during worship services. Trained community navigators will also assist clients with completing the census online or by phone.
  • MidTown Cleveland, Inc. will include census-themed artwork in the neighborhood (either through temporary murals on vacant lots or wheatpasting posters) in concert with the upcoming POW! WOW! mural festival. The organization will also incorporate census messages in broader community events, such as in East 66th Street Community Meetings, Neighborhood Vision Plan community meetings, and Caffeine Beats, a virtual concert series inspired by Leo’s Casino.
  • Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope (NOAH) is working in East Cleveland to continue to raise awareness about the census via a mass texting platform. The text will include a link so that residents can connect to the online census portal through their mobile phone. They will also tap into their network of neighborhood groups and equip resident leaders not only to call to promote census participation but also to walk fellow residents through the process of filling out the census form.
  • Tremont West Development Corporation will be creating and dropping off census kits to residents’ doors, specifically those living on the Scranton, Clark, and West 14th Street corridors. The organization will also make kits and materials available weekly at the Tremont Farmer’s Market for at least ten weeks, as well as in front of the St. Augustine Hunger Center for one month.
  • US Together, Inc. will expand its project in the Ukrainian community on the west side of Cleveland and will accelerate activities on the east side, working with Russian-speaking elderly in trusted places. The organization will incorporate census outreach in activity plans, focusing on reaching 500 Russian speakers by partnering with social workers and daycare facilities when they are open.

The microgrants were made possible thanks to a $250,000 grant from the New Venture Fund (at the recommendation of a national census funder collaborative) to support grassroots efforts to get an accurate and complete count in Ohio for the 2020 census, with a particular focus on HTC populations and communities. HTC populations include five primary groups: 1) immigrants/newcomers, 2) African Americans, 3) Latinx, 4) children under five and their families, and 5) students, renters and people who are transient. Ohio is one of 24 states to receive no state-level funding for efforts around the 2020 census.

“A complete count in Ohio means we must do a better job reaching our communities of color and making sure that we are heard, seen, and counted,” said Tracy Nájera, Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio executive director. “These microgrants will support our shared goals of building a more inclusive, responsive, and connected Ohio by providing our partners with much needed equipment, tools, and training, allowing them to adjust their census messaging and outreach activities to ensure the safety of their team and of the communities they serve.”

A third round of microgrants will be awarded in July. Contact Juan Galeano (, Cleveland Foundation project consultant for the 2020 census, to learn more about this grant opportunity and how to apply for funding.

Visit for more information.

Census Microgrant Recipients

Organization                                                                                                             Grant

Asian Services In Action, Inc. (ASIA)                                                                           $2,500

Cleveland Clergy Alliance                                                                                           $2,500

Cuyahoga Community College                                                                                     $1,000

Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization                                               $1,500

Downtown Cleveland Residents                                                                                   $1,500

East Cleveland Public Library                                                                                      $1,000

Esperanza, Inc.                                                                                                           $1,500

Foluke Cultural Arts Center, Inc.                                                                                  $1,500

Hispanic Business Center                                                                                            $1,500

HOLA Ohio                                                                                                               $2,500

Metro West Community Development Organization                                                       $1,500

MidTown Cleveland, Inc.                                                                                            $1,500

NAACP (Cleveland Branch)                                                                                        $1,000

National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (Cuyahoga County Section)                                $1,500

Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope (NOAH)                                                                   $5,000

Ohio Progressive Asian Women’s Leadership (OPAWL)                                                 $1,000

Ohio Women’s Alliance                                                                                               $1,000

Promise of Democracy Foundation, Inc.                                                                        $2,500

Smart Development Inc.                                                                                              $1,500

Tremont West Development Corporation                                                                       $1,500

US Together, Inc.                                                                                                       $2,500

West Side Catholic Center                                                                                           $1,000

Young Latino Network (YLN)                                                                                     $1,500