Greater Cleveland coalition announces $113,000 in microgrants for 2020 census outreach

37 organizations chosen out of nearly 200 submissions

Release Date: 3.10.2020

CLEVELAND – The 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 $113,000 in the first round of census microgrants aimed at increasing participation in the 2020 census among Hard-to-Count (HTC) populations.

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 $500 to $5,000. The 37 recipients were chosen from nearly 200 applications. A complete list of awardees follows below.

“The first round of grantee recipients includes organizations that are trusted by the communities they seek to engage with approaches to outreach that are both practical and creative,” said Nelson Beckford, Cleveland Foundation program director for neighborhood revitalization & engagement. “For Cleveland to have a complete and accurate count, the community must take ownership. It’s going to take an all-hands-on-deck approach.”

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.

“We were completely overwhelmed by the response to this first round of funding in Northeast Ohio,” said Marcia Egbert, The George Gund Foundation senior program officer for human services. “I think the volume of submissions clearly speaks to the importance of utilizing grassroots organizations to serve as trusted voices around this critical issue. We’re grateful to the national census funder collaborative for making these funds available to help get out the count in Ohio.”

Selected examples of the outreach efforts include:

  • In your family and the census: Everyone Counts – This Upcycle Project, in collaboration with Cleveland Public Library, will have a professional photographer take family portraits at the Sterling Branch in Central, and while families are waiting, they will have an opportunity to fill out the census. Central has the highest concentration of families with children under five.
  • Refugee Response Public Service Announcement – This project will lead to the creation and translation of a short animated video into seven languages not covered by the census. The video will be shared with trusted voices from those communities for a larger reach.
  • The President’s Council ShopTalk – Real Talk Conversations, With Like Faces, In Safe Spaces – This project will involve talking to people about the census at barbershops and encouraging participants to fill out the census forms while they wait.
  • Census Friday at Las Tienditas – The Hispanic Business Center will have trained volunteers stationed at Las Tienditas Del Mercado in Clark-Fulton every Friday from April to July to engage an average of 150 daily visitors, sharing the importance of the census and what it means to the individual and families in the community. To further encourage participation, visitors who fill out their census at Las Tienditas will be entered into a raffle.

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

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Census Microgrant Recipients

Black Child Development Institute – Cleveland

Catholic Charities Corporation – Help Me Grow Program

Catholic Charities Corporation – Matt Talbot for Men Clinic

Cleveland Branch – NAACP

Cleveland Metropolitan School District

Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority

Esperanza, Inc.

Famicos Foundation

Frontline Services

Hispanic Business Center


Kings & Queens of Art

Lakewood Community Center

Lake Erie Native American Council (LENAC)

Lifeline, Inc.

MidTown Cleveland

Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH)

Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope (NOAH)

Olivet Housing and CDC

PCs for People


Recovery Resources

Smart Development Inc.

St. Aloysius Church

Starting Point

The City Mission

The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland

The Literacy Cooperative

The Presidents’ Council

The Refugee Response

Thea Bowman Center

Upcycle Parts Shop

US Together, Inc. (UST) – Cleveland

West Side Catholic Center

WOVU 95.9 FM – Burten, Bell, Carr Community Radio

Young Latino Network

YWCA Greater Cleveland

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