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Chicago Foundations Announce Grants to Improve Census Participation

Ten Chicago foundations announced today that they will jointly provide $1.2-million in grants to help improve participation in the 2010 census by groups of people who have in the past been undercounted.

The money will pay for 60 nonprofit organizations to provide information about the census to low-income, African American, Latino, immigrant, and non-English-speaking residents in 37 neighborhoods in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois that had low participation in 2000.

An accurate census is critical because Illinois is projected to lose $12,000 in federal money over the next 10 years for each uncounted person — an issue that is especially important given the state’s current budget difficulties, the foundations said in a statement.

The nonprofit organizations participating in the “Count Me In” project — all with ties to the selected neighborhoods — will carry out public-education campaigns, training, special events, and other grass-roots activities designed to get people to mail in their census forms.

The participating foundations are the Boeing Company’s philanthropic arm, the Chicago Bar Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Grand Victoria Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Polk Brothers Foundation, the Steans Family Foundation, and Woods Fund of Chicago.

More information is available on the Joyce Foundation’s Web site.

The California Endowment last week announced a similar effort, saying it will make $4-million in grants to ensure people in “hard to count” areas in California participate in the census.

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