Forefront Launches Statewide Advocacy Coalition to Ensure a Fair and Accurate 2020 Census

Illinois Count Me In 2020 Coalition logo


Nonprofits are obvious allies in the effort to secure a full, accurate, and complete census count because millions of Illinoisans already rely on nonprofits every day. When community members entrust their children to a nonprofit childcare center, get health care services at a local clinic, receive job skills training, or open the door to a Meals on Wheels volunteer, they are interacting with trusted messengers who speak the community’s language and understand their needs. We believe that existing level of trust means people will listen when nonprofits speak to them about the benefits of participating in the Census.

As part of our Democracy Initiative, Forefront is mobilizing our nonprofit + foundation members to encourage all Illinoisans, and especially members of traditionally hard-to-count populations, to participate in the upcoming 2020 Census. The Illinois Count Me In 2020 statewide advocacy coalition is an ambitious collaborative and coordinated statewide effort that will involve hundreds of nonprofits across Illinois, serving as trusted messengers for their respective stakeholders. Through the coalition, Forefront will

  1. Provide national Get Out the Count (GOTC) resources, best practices, and research to the coalition’s members and their partners.
  2. Build statewide partnerships between the Coalition Steering Committee, Forefront members, the larger coalition, and funders to coordinate Census 2020 outreach and advocacy.
  3. Identify gaps and priorities with Coalition Steering Committee members and their constituents to inform the funding community in Illinois and nationally

The coalition has four Working Groups:

  1. Census 2020 State Appropriation
  2. Census 2020 Communications/Messaging
  3. Census 2020 Policy Concerns regarding Hard to Count Communities
  4. Census 2020 Statewide Field Operation (Get Out The Count efforts which will commence Spring 2019)

Please join us on Thurs., 9/20 from 2-3:30pm for a kick-off webinar to learn more about the coalition, its goals, and how your organization can get involved so we can ensure a fair and accurate count here in Illinois. Our keynote speaker is Arturo Vargas, Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO). He also serves as the Chief Executive Officer of NALEO Educational Fund, a national nonprofit organization that strengthens American democracy by promoting the full participation of Latinos in civic life. We will also be joined by Dr. Julie Dowling, the new Vice Chair of the National Advisory Council for the U.S. Census Bureau. Dr. Dowling is an Associate Professor in the Department of Latina/Latino Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

To learn more about the Illinois Count Me In Coalition or to participate in a Working Group, please contact Anita Banerji, Director, Democracy Initiative, at


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