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Philly Counts 2020 Action Fund

The Corporate and Philanthropy Subcommittee of Mayor Jim Kenney’s Complete Count Committee and Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia are pleased to announce guidelines for the Philly Counts 2020 Action Fund, which will accept grant proposals between August 2019 - Spring 2020 from Philadelphia organizations prepared to support the promotion and completion of the 2020 Census in Philadelphia.

    Fund Strategy

    Accurate census data is essential for the fair distribution of political representation and the equitable distribution of resources. Census data also allows for the planning and decision-making for all sectors. Although philanthropy can’t and shouldn’t supplant the government’s responsibility to conduct a proper census, funder engagement in support of the constitutionally required count is more important than ever. The Mayor has allocated $975,000 in FY20 budget to fund the Philly Counts 2020 office and operating costs. The Philly Counts 2020 Office is a unit within the Managing Director’s Office in the City of Philadelphia.

    Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia and Philly Counts 2020 have partnered to launch The Philly Counts 2020 Action Fund. The Action Fund seeks to ensure Philadelphia communities receive their fair share of federal dollars and representation as a result of a complete count of all Philadelphians. The Action Fund has announced a grant opportunity for Philadelphia organizations seeking to promote and support a fair and accurate count in the 2020 United States Census.

    Read coverage of the fund's launch in the Philadelphia Inquirer ('Philly seeks money for 2020 Census' by Michaelle Bond) and follow the links below for more information.


    The Action Fund will prioritize the following principles:

    • Community Involvement and Empowerment: The Fund is specifically looking to support and empower community based organizations. Grants will aim to develop the skills and capacity of the communities at risk of being undercounted in addition to laying the groundwork for a complete count. 

    • Responsive Flexibility: The Fund is structured to allow for quick decisions and swift disbursement of funding to local organizations. This functionality puts donations to work quickly. It also enables us to pivot easily as we receive real-time information from our grantees regarding priorities. 

    Philly Counts 2020 Action Fund Goals

    The Goals of the Philly Counts 2020 Action Fund are to:

    • Increase communication and coordination of work around Census 2020
    • Achieve effective, efficient strategies and increased philanthropic investments
    • Support education, community outreach, regional communications, policy advocacy and other “Get Out the Count” activities
    • Prioritize funding in hard-to-count communities, referring to hard to locate, hard to contact, hard to persuade and hard to interview populations.  

    For Funders

    Fund Structure

    The Action Fund will be held at Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia and will have its own Review Committee. The Review Committee will be responsible for approving all funding decisions. The Review Committee will consist of no more than 3 members.

    Review Committee members will be required to respond by email to grant requests within 48 hours. Once a majority of approvals come in for the grant, it will be considered a yes and grantees will be notified immediately.

    Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia will provide the entire grant support team for the Action Fund. The support team will be made up of a core team that will be responsible for preparation and set-up work of the fund. Philanthropy Network will provide fund leadership, back office support, and program management. Philanthropy Network will work with Philly Counts 2020 on fundraising and marketing, ensuring timely appeals and updates to donors.


    Please note, should you decide to contribute, your contribution neither advantages nor disadvantages you from pursuing contracting opportunities or in obtaining services or other benefits from the City of Philadelphia.  We expect that contributions to support Philly Counts 2020 Action Fund are for a public purpose and are made without the expectation of private benefit or concern about adverse effect as a result.

    In addition, please note that City law requires transparency of solicitations made by a City official or employee to current or prospective City professional services contractors, recipients of financial assistance or principal contractors or subcontractors for best value contracts. Therefore, if you seek or already have either a professional services contract or a best value contract with the City, or seek or already receive financial assistance from the City, and in the prior two years any City officer or employee directly solicited you or a representative of your organization for your contribution, you must disclose the name and title of the soliciting City officer or employee, the date of the request, the amount/nature of the request, whether/when the request was fulfilled, and the amount/nature of your response (e.g., amount of contribution).  For more detailed information on the City’s disclosure/eligibility requirements, including mandatory deadlines for filing disclosures, please refer to

    Overview of Grant Opportunity

    The Philly Counts 2020 Action Fund will consider proposals that meet the following criteria:

    • Proposals should promote census awareness and completion in a hard to count community within Philadelphia. Examples include:

    • Alleviating language barriers in promoting census awareness and completion
    • Building trust in communities regarding protected Census data
    • Unique marketing campaigns designed to encourage Census participation 
    • Building organizational capacity through technology and training 
    • Typical grant requests will be between $2,500 and $10,000. Higher grant requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    Grant Eligibility and Timeline

    To be eligible for a grant from Philly Counts 2020 Action Fund, applying organizations must meet the following criteria:

    • Organizations applying for grants must be based in and primarily serve  Philadelphia county
    • The application must be for a grant that will be fully spent by July 31, 2020
    • If awarded funding, the organization must agree to complete a grant completion report and potentially a presentation to the Philly Counts 2020 Corporate and Philanthropy subcommittee
    • Funding will not be approved for general operating costs. Only project-specific support is available through this fund.
    • Applicants must have a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status

    Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by the committee every other month.

     **Please Note: All grants are subject to fund availability. There may be times when applications are held until a subsequent round as funds become available**

    Link to this page for details on how to apply to the Philly Counts 2020 Action Fund.

    Please direct questions to:

    • Shira Hodges, Vice President, Strategy & Learning, Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia
    • Olivia Baackes, Philly Counts 2020, Director of Philanthropic & Corporate Engagement, City of Philadelphia