Preparing for census 2020

A complete and accurate census count is critical for the well-being of our community. Why? Because the census is used to set funding for everything from Medicaid to highway construction to K-12 education. To get the most for our community, we have to ensure all residents are counted.

That’s why Heart of West Michigan United Way is managing the Census Hub for Kent County. Census Hubs are part of the Michigan Nonprofits Count Campaign, a collaborative, coordinated, statewide effort to encourage participation in the 2020 census in communities that are at significant risk of being undercounted.

The campaign will mobilize nonprofits to encourage participation in the 2020 census by:

  • Providing training and tools for nonprofits on effective outreach tactics

  • Assisting nonprofits in identifying historically undercounted communities

  • Awarding mini-grants to local nonprofits

  • Coordinating a statewide communications plan

  • Working with government officials to avoid duplication of efforts and enhance government’s communication and outreach efforts to support a fair and accurate census count

Why Nonprofits and Community Organizations

Kent County nonprofit organizations and community groups are ideally suited to encourage neighbors in at-risk communities to be counted. Nonprofits serving undercounted communities have well-established relationships by way of their services and advocacy efforts and are generally regarded with a high level of trust.

Prioritizing Equity

Equity means recognizing the need to eliminate disparities from historically underserved and underrepresented populations. It also means the creation of opportunities, sharing of resources, and empowering communities to civic action.

We recognize that there are many different approaches to getting out the count and we value diversity in our funding. We believe the communities most affected by inequity already hold the knowledge of what needs to be done to make sure their communities are counted in the census. We are committed to advocating for policies and practices that promote proportionality and equitable outcomes. We are committed to racial equity as a critical strategy.

2020 Census Mini-Grant Recipients

·         Asian Community Outreach

·         Bhutanese Community of Michigan

·         Creston Neighborhood Association

·         Dégagé Ministries

·         Dwelling Place

·         Garfield Park Neighborhoods Association

·         Genesis Non-Profit Housing Corporation

·         Grand Rapids Urban League

·         Grand Rapids Nehemiah Project

·         Hispanic Center of Western Michigan

·         HQ

·         La Mejor Foundation

·         Migrant Legal Aid

·         Neighbors of Belknap Lookout

·         New City Neighbors

·         South Division/Grandville Avenue Corridor Improvement Authority

·         West Grand Neighborhood Organization and John Ball Area Neighbors

·         YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids

Read our blog post announcing mini-grant recipients.


The application process for Census Hub Mini-Grants is now closed. If you have questions, please contact Robert McKown at rmckown@hwmuw.org.