St. David's Stories

Partnering to “Get-out-the-Count” for the 2020 Census

Getting an accurate count in the 2020 Census is so important to us at St. David’s Foundation. We recently published the story, Why the Census Counts, highlighting our commitment to investing in grassroots Get Out the Count efforts in “hard-to-count” communities across Central Texas, in partnership with United Way for Greater Austin,  Episcopal Health Foundation, and Austin Community Foundation

On December 12th, we held an event with our partners and awarded grants totaling $395,000 to 17 community-based organizations committed to this work. Pooled funds from all partner organizations will target hard-to-count communities in five Central Texas counties (Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson). 

David Smith of United Way, William Buster of St. David’s Foundation, Alice Yi of Asian American Complete Count Initiative, and Jill Ramirez of Latino Healthcare Forum spoke at the event.


The goal of these grants is to ensure that every person in Central Texas is counted in the 2020 Census. Texas has one of the largest risks of an undercount, due to a large number of hard-to-count populations, such as young children, immigrants, rural residents, and people experiencing homelessness. In Central Texas, a one percent undercount will result in a $25 million loss in federal funding per year over the next 10 years, based on 2010 Census estimates.

St. David’s Foundation’s EVP of Community Investments William Buster addresses the crowd at the grant announcement event.


The risk of an undercount is a major concern for nonprofits and foundations. The majority of charitable funding decisions are made based on data collected in the decennial census count. Inaccurate data could deprive population groups and communities of vital public and private resources that support health care, housing, education, transportation, and much more.

“If the people in our community are undercounted, our region risks cuts to programs that our entire community relies on. We need an accurate count so Central Texans can get an adequate level of federal funding for public programs and a fair amount of representation in our local, state, and federal governments,”

– Mariana Salazar, Census 2020 Project Director at United Way for Greater Austin.


To minimize the undercount, United Way is funding grants in two categories:

  • Grassroots Organizations and Service Providers

Organizations with existing ties to hard-to-count communities in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and/or Williamson counties conducting boots-on-the-ground get-out-the-count activities.

  • Complete Count Committees

Complete Count Committees in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, or Williamson counties conducting or coordinating get-out-the-count activities, with a specific focus on targeting hard-to-count populations.

These grants are funded by a collaborative of local foundations. The funders that contributed include:

St. David’s Foundation, Episcopal Health Foundation, Austin Community Foundation, Applied Materials Foundation, Bill Wood Foundation, Aragona Family Foundation, Georgetown Health Foundation, Carl C. Anderson Sr. & Marie Jo Anderson Charitable Foundation, and the Genevieve and Ward Orsinger Foundation

Complete List of Grantees:

OrganizationCountiesAmount AwardedProject Description
Housing Authority of the City of AustinTravis$45,000Trained, compensated resident teams will conduct door-to-door and in-person outreach and canvassing, host on-property get out the count events, and provide individuals and families digital access to the census via portable tablets and wi-fi hot spots.
Austin Ed FundTravis$45,000Train staff and stakeholders to support Census completion. Work with campus verticals to develop activities tailored to their communities including activities to reach families off campus. Integrate Census completion into all events.
Bastrop County Cares/Bastrop CCCBastrop$20,000Development and distribution of outreach materials. Hosting micro-community Census Parties.
Austin Community College DistrictBastrop Caldwell Hays Travis Williamson$13,000Inform student populations about Census through messaging and tabling.
AVANCE-Austin, Inc.Travis$10,000Build Census information and participation directly into all AVANCE programming with a majority Latinx, low-income population. Directly support all program participants to complete the Census.
People’s Community ClinicTravis$20,000This grant will fund a part-time support position to provide information and assist with completing the Census onsite at clinics and is part of a larger effort that will include Census completion kioks.
Foundation CommunitiesTravis Williamson$45,000Train staff and volunteers to share Census information with residents and clients. Support completion of Census at food pantry locations and at resident events (include April 1 resident dinners). Onsite Census volunteers at VITA sites to assist with Census completion.
Austin-Travis / Williamson / San Marcos CCCsBastrop Caldwell Hays Travis Williamson$59,000Develop and deploy messaging campaigns for hart-to-count populations in all five counties
El Buen Samaritano Episcopal MissionHays Travis$20,000Comprehensive plan to reach clients on-site with Census survey completion and through special events. Will makes use of El Buen’s signficant reach and capacity to communicate with clients.
Williamson County and Cities Health DistrictWilliamson$30,000Hire coordinator, train staff, develop and deploy messaging, educate community partners.
Asian Pacific Islander American Political AffairsBastrop Caldwell Hays Travis Williamson$20,000Outreach campaign targeting Asian populations in Travis and Williamson County that includes translating messaging and distributing through various media as well as in-person meetings/presentations to relevant community groups. Budget allocation for volunteers to go door-to-door.
Mano AmigaHays$10,000Field organizing (campus tabling, community events, peer-to-peer outreach and digital organizing using social media platforms and SMS) focused on college campuses.
Todos Juntos Learning CenterTravis$5,000Support to current and former clients to complete Census with two community events and students trained to do canvasing
Bastrop County Food PantryBastrop$5,000Development and distribution of outreach materials. Hosting micro-community Census Parties.
Hays County CCCHays$8,000Create educational materials and outreach through events and tabling
Caldwell County CCCCaldwell$20,000Will conduct a variety of outreach activities including utility bill messaging, printing of bilingual messaging for distribution, purchase of ipads for canvassing.
Austin Area Urban LeagueTravis$20,000Focused on the African American community. Will conduct community outreach and engagement, public relations strategy, door-to-door canvassing, language access and high traffic community events.

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