ST. JOSEPH — Census mini-grants are being made available to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, school or government agencies, and religious organizations in Berrien County.
The Berrien Community Foundation has announced the grants to help Berrien County achieve a complete count in the 2020 Census. The foundation is acting as the Census Hub to help mobilize communities to ensure an accurate count. Census count day is April 1, 2020.
Nonprofit organizations eligible for the grants must serve “hard-to-count populations,” such as low-income persons, persons with mental or physical disabilities, persons experiencing homelessness, persons who do not live in traditional housing, physically isolated persons, young children, people of color, highly mobile persons such as college students, non-English speakers, immigrants and LGBTQ persons.
“Our local nonprofit organizations are key to the grassroots efforts to count every resident in the 2020 Census,” said Berrien Community President Lisa Cripps-Downey in a news release. “Nonprofits, including churches and schools, are key contact points to residents who may not fill out the census form. These grants will help support nonprofit efforts to educate residents about the importance of the census and plans to get out the count.”
Berrien County has an anticipated $44 million in federal funding per year for the next 10 years at risk if there is an undercount in the 2020 Census.
Census-based federal funding is used for roads, bridges, schools, social services, housing, transportation and much more. Census data also determines federal and state legislative representation.
“Counting every resident of Berrien County is vital to Berrien County getting our fair share of federal funding and representation,” said Kathy Stady, Berrien County Census Hub Coordinator.
Nonprofit organizations serving hard-to-count populations are encouraged to attend an information session to learn more. Information sessions are being held in New Buffalo, Berrien Springs, Benton Harbor, Niles and Coloma.
Mini-grant applications are due Aug. 31.
Information sessions are available at the following times and locations:
10:30 a.m. to noon, New Buffalo Township Library, 33 N. Thompson St., New Buffalo
4-5:30 p.m., Berrien RESA, 711 St. Joseph Ave., Berrien Springs
3-4:30 p.m. and 5-6:30 p.m., Kinexus, 499 W. Main St., Benton Harbor
2-3:30 p.m. and 4:30-6 p.m., Niles District Library, 620 E. Main St., Niles
3:30-5 p.m., Coloma Public Library, 151 W. Center St., Coloma