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Philly Counts Honors 80+ Action Fund Grantees Taking Census Action

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
PHILADELPHIA —  The 2020 Census is coming up in just a few weeks. A fair and equitable distribution of political representation and federal funding for the next decade will rely on a complete and accurate census count this year. With Philly’s future in mind, community leaders have taken it upon themselves to ensure their neighbors know the importance of getting counted this year.


On Thursday, February 20, Mayor Kenney and Second Lady Gisele Fetterman joined Philly Counts, Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (United Way) at the Philly Counts Action Fund Partners Reception to celebrate the successful implementation of community census engagement projects across the city. The recipients of Action Fund grants were honored for their work promoting census participation in their communities and encouraged to continue the action when the census becomes available in mid-March.

The Philly Counts Action Fund was created to support the grassroots engagement efforts of Philadelphia organizations that are taking action in their communities to raise awareness about the importance of the census. With the help of donation matches up to $500,000 from United Way,  the fund has provided over $740,000 to 83 organizations to support 88 census engagement projects in historically underrepresented communities.

“We need an accurate count to secure funding for public infrastructure projects, workforce development initiatives, highways, roads, and schools. But, there are some challenges. We know that trust in government is a key deterrent for some hard-to-count communities, and we know that some residents do not have internet access. That’s why the work that the Action Fund grant recipients are doing is so important,” said Mayor Kenney.

“The census will impact every single one of us for the next ten years. It is critically important that all Pennsylvanians participate because programming and resources rely on an accurate count. Your information is safe and protected.  If you live in Pennsylvania you matter to me and to the census, ” said Gisele Fetterman, Second Lady of Pennsylvania, during her stop in Philadelphia as part of her statewide tour to promote the 2020 Census.

Organizations have used their grants to fund a variety of census engagement efforts at the community level. Because organizations have established trust with their constituents and know how to successfully engage them on important issues, they have been able to use their grants from the Action Fund to implement their own census engagement strategy. Action Fund grants have supported the printing and distribution of informational materials and planning of census action events.

“We know that the most effective way to motivate folks to complete the 2020 Census is to engage them through people they know and trust. The Action Fund provides organizations that already serve and support historically hard-to-count populations with the resources to implement the census engagement strategy that they know is effective,” said Stephanie Reid, Executive Director of Philly Counts. “Through this, we have been able to create the partnerships and infrastructure for civic action that will last beyond the 2020 Census.

The goal of a complete and accurate 2020 Census count in Philadelphia is only possible with combined efforts from community leaders across the city. With the census approaching, the work is far from finished. Action Fund recipients and Philly Counts partners are continuing census engagement work throughout the census season, to ensure that every Philadelphian feels motivated to participate this year. During Census Action Days in March and April, volunteers will be canvassing over 200,000 households in Philly’s hardest-to-count neighborhoods to inform residents about the importance of their response to the census.

Members of the public can join the action and can register to volunteer during Census Action Days.

See the press release in Spanish.

About Philly Counts
Philly Counts 2020 is the City’s effort to support the next United States Census. By working closely with community members and partners, this program aims to: increase understanding about the importance of the census, educate the public on how to participate, ensure responses from the public for a fair and accurate count, and support filling census jobs. More information is available at

About Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia
Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia convenes and connects funders as catalysts for positive action, innovation, and effective giving in our region, providing a unique forum for learning and collaboration. The Network brings funders together with community partners and leaders to spark solutions that foster a more prosperous, innovative, and equitable region.  More information is available at

About United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey
United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, serving communities in Pennsylvania’s Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, and New Jersey’s Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May and Cumberland counties, is part of a national network of more than 1,300 locally governed organizations that work to create lasting positive changes in communities and in people’s lives. United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. In Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, United Way fights for youth success and family stability because we LIVE UNITED against intergenerational poverty. For more information about United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey visit

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