CHICAGO, IL – Aiming to overcome hurdles that could depress Illinois census tallies and cost Illinois federal funds, an unprecedented alliance of 60 nonprofits and 10 of Illinois’ leading foundations are working together to improve participation in the 2010 census among hard-to-count populations.  Targeting hard-to-reach communities, this endeavor, known as the Count Me In campaign, is the largest effort in the country to promote census participation in a single state by a group of philanthropic funders and nonprofit organizations.

The $1.2 million campaign will attempt to increase census participation in 37 targeted communities in Chicago and throughout Illinois.  The effort will combine innovative public education campaigns, community outreach, and other grassroots activities designed to increase the mail-back rate of census forms from select Illinois communities.

The 2010 census is particularly critical because it will help determine the distribution of roughly $400 billion a year in federal funds to state and local governments, including more than $14 billion each year to Illinois. Researchers predict Illinois will lose $12,000 in federal funds during the next ten years for each uncounted person.

Low-income, African American, Asian, Latino, immigrant, children, and non-English speaking communities have historically been undercounted in the census.  Focusing on these populations, the nonprofits will tap existing networks to boost participation in the 2010 census.

“Trusted voices in the community are critical when it comes to convincing hard to count populations that the 2010 Census is important, easy and safe to participate in,” said Dr. Robert M. Groves, U.S. Census Bureau director.  “The Census Bureau looks forward to working alongside the Count Me In grantees to help ensure an accurate and complete count of all Illinois residents next year.”

For a full press release, information about the grantees, Count Me In and a map of the targeted communities, visit

Count Me In is funded by The Boeing Company, The Chicago Bar Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Grand Victoria Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Steans Family Foundation and Woods Fund of Chicago. In addition, LISC/Chicago is supporting five New Community Program lead agencies in this effort.

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