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BBCF receives portion of $1M for census outreach

On Monday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that she had awarded $1 million to support efforts to promote, educate and encourage participation in the 2020 Census among Alabamians.

Among the organizations that received funding was the Black Belt Community Foundation, which was granted $40,000 to provide census awareness through training workshops and events across the organization’s 12-county service area.

In all, the funds provided by the legislature were distributed to 34 government agencies and organizations across the state to increase Alabama’s self-response rate during the upcoming count, which will begin in spring.

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of what a full and accurate count in the 2020 Census means for Alabama,” Ivey said in a press release. “Those numbers have a direct impact on billions of dollars in funding that affect schools, community programs, health care, job opportunities and just about every other aspect of our state. I thank our legislators for allocating funds for these outreach efforts and I also commend local leaders and organizations for being proactive in these efforts.”

The grants are being administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) from funding allocated by the Alabama Legislature during this year’s session as part of the Education Trust Fund Budget.

ADECA is acting as the state’s liason to the U.S. Census Bureau and the lead agency for census outreach and preparation efforts.

The agency is leading Ivey’s Alabama Counts initiative to ensure as many Alabamians as possible are counted in the 2020 Census, which begins in mid-March.

At that time, every Alabama household address will receive an invitation to respond to the census.

“Governor Ivey is absolutely correct about how important an accurate count is for Alabama and, thanks to the Legislature, ADECA is able to partner with entities across the state for education and outreach efforts to ensure that Alabama gets its fair share of funding and to help ensure fair representation for the state in the U.S. House of Representatives,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said in the press release.

Beyond the BBCF, a variety of governments and organizations across the region received grant funding for census outreach efforts.

The Lowndes County Commission received $40,000 to enhance awareness in minority, low-income and low-education populations, as well as those without internet access or facing transportation difficulties.

The Perry County Commission received $31,000 in grant funding for advertising, social media and direct outreach to target messaging to hard-to-count populations.

The Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center received $40,000 for outdoor media promotion and Census Day activities.

The Greenville-Butler County Library received $32,650 to provide census education and technology assistance for residents to fill out the census.