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South Carolina #CreativesForTheCount Workshop Brings Creatives, Nonprofits and Advocates from Across the State Together to Reach Hard to Count Communities with 2020 Census Campaigns

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 10, 2019

2020 SC Counts Initiative; Together SC, United Way Association of South Carolina, The Neue South Collective and the SC Grantmakers Network have partnered with the US Census Open Innovation Labs (an arm of the Census Bureau) to host the first ever South Carolina #CreativeForTheCount Workshop in Columbia on October 14th. The workshop will host advocates, nonprofit leaders, agencies and creatives from Spartanburg, Greenville, Columbia and Charleston to develop campaigns reaching hard to count communities with information on the 2020 Census.

 “People of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people and people experiencing homelessness, rural communities, people with low incomes, renters, single parent households, people with limited English proficiency and young children are overwhelmingly undercounted in the Census. But we can help change that”, says Naomi Lett, Executive Director of United Way Association of South Carolina.

 The hard-to-count populations being addressed in the workshop were identified by the 2020 SC Counts Committee are Children 0-5, African American men, the LatinX community and the Native American Community. Organizations leading Census outreach efforts often have limited creative and/or digital capacity. Yet, as trusted voices, it is vital that their grassroots outreach efforts be amplified online to reach as many of their community members as possible.


 “We are thrilled to have so many advocates and creatives coming together for this important initiative. The creative assets from this event will be available to any nonprofit in our state who wants to utilize them at,” says Kathryn Harvey, Founder of the Neue South Collective. 


 Organizations such as the SC Grantmakers Network, who has committed more than $180k in private funds to support a complete count of all South Carolina’s residents will be supporting outreach efforts as well. Funds from the award will be invested in communities from across the state.


 About #CreativesForTheCount

 #CreativesForTheCount is a workshop being hosted nationwide by the US Census Labs to match creative talent (designers, copywriters, content strategists, video-makers, etc.) with those organizations so that they can conduct more effective digital outreach, with the ultimate goal of increasing response rates among the hardest-to-count communities that they serve in their respective state.


 Over the course of 5 hours, four teams from across South Carolina will collaborate to generate digital media, print toolkits and compelling messages that help spread awareness about the 2020 Census to communicate the importance of a complete and accurate count for SC.  

Below is an agenda for the day:

10:30am – Arrive & Check-in

 11:00am – Welcome & Kickoff

12-4pm – Breakouts, Creative Sprints & Lunch

4-5pm – Campaign Presentation & Wrap Up

5:00pm – Optional Networking Reception

Registration is still open at

Why this is important:

The count of the US population sets our country’s trajectory for the next decade, determining congressional apportionment, redistricting and how the allocation of close to $700 billion dollars is annually distributed to cities across the nation.

 SC currently receives $7.3B in census related funds. Every 100 community members who aren’t counted represents $2.6M in federal funds over 10 years that is sent to other states instead of SC.  And there are currently 133 Complete Count Committees in South Carolina that are made up by representatives from local government, community-based organizations, and businesses who recognize how critical it is to accurately document how many people reside in each community. Committees hope that their efforts will lead community members to recognize participating in the census is a civic duty akin to voting.


Kathryn Harvey 646 234 0734

Mary Dell Hayes 803-920-4868

Madeline McGee  843-708-3246  

Tags:  #CreativesForTheCount  2020 Census  South Carolina  Together SC 

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Census Equity Fund Award $150,000 To South Carolina Grantmakers Network For 2020 Census Efforts

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 10, 2019

The New Venture Fund on behalf of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded the South Carolina Grantmakers Network $150,000 as part of the Census Equity Fund’s national effort to increase census participation in key states.  South Carolina is one of a select few states to receive resources based on the expansive collaboration underway.

The funds are part of a statewide effort of more than 40 foundations and community partner agencies as well as the Office of Minority Affairs to assure a complete count for the upcoming 2020 census.  The effort is focused around assuring South Carolina receives its share of the more than $675 billion federal dollars that the census determines distribution.  Not to mention federal representation – as noted by the addition of a congressional seat from the 2010 census.  As South Carolina continues to grow,  South Carolina’s philanthropic sector is investing to assure the needs of all of our citizens are counted.

 Led in partnership by the SC Grantmakers Network, United Way Association of South Carolina, and Together SC, the SC Counts: 2020 Census Initiative project is focused primarily on populations with historically low participation – African American males, children 0-5, LatinX, Native Americans, LGTBQ, and homeless populations – and in targeted census tracts with low participation.  In the 2010 census, some census tracts reported as low as a 57.1% participation rate – meaning resources and representation for nearly half of the community went unrealized.   The collaborative aims to change that by investing in community organizations to engage individuals and carry the message on how the census will impact individuals and family in key areas of their lives – like education, housing, jobs, and infrastructure (roads, etc.), healthcare, etc. 

 In order to qualify for the $150,000 funding, SC Counts: 2020 Census Initiative leveraged $215,000 in cash and in-kind resources from various partners to support a complete count of all South Carolina’s residents.  Funds from the award will be invested in communities from across the state. To learn more about how you can help go to

Naomi Lett, President & CEO 



Tags:  2020 Census  Grants  Together SC 

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Census 2020: A policy issue that we can all get behind.

Posted By Chynna A. Phillips, MSW, MPH, Saturday, May 11, 2019

Guest blog by:
Chynna A. Phillips
Research and Policy Manager
Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina

APRIL 1, 2020 is Census Day. What are you doing to prepare?

Before I begin, please note that this blog post is not meant to make its reader proficient on all things Census. My purpose is simply to share that no matter how daunting the task is of achieving a complete and accurate count of all individuals living in South Carolina, there is a role that everyone can and should play in preparation for Census 2020.

The Rationale

Long before there were Ted Talks explaining the power of courage and vulnerability, and blogs outlining the steps to effectively use ones’ voice, nonprofits have been leading by example for years. Through compelling stories and exposure to the truths of the work their organizations do, nonprofit leaders evoke action from potential donors, build trust with their clients and communities, and motivate their staff and volunteers alike. When large systems fail to meet the needs of the collective, and misguided leaders defund services; nonprofit leaders step in. Nonprofits step in to advocate that their communities and the individuals within them are supported and seen through a lens of power and resilience. On a daily basis, nonprofit leaders challenge, advocate, and push boundaries.

It is this daily drive, that leaves us to wonder, what would happen if nonprofit leaders and those around them collectively worked toward a goal that had political implications? For many reasons, all of which hold some level of validity, policy is an area that many nonprofits choose not to venture. Our separate missions and organizational values present unique challenges making it difficult for many to see a shared topic worth working toward. While we can wrestle with finding what that topic is for weeks or even years, I have a thought.

I submit to you, that the upcoming Census is an issue that cuts across all sectors, missions, and communities. Assisting in this effort does not pull us away from our missions, but draws us closer to the very individuals our missions calls us to serve. For better or worse, we are all impacted by the results of each census. According to the US Census Bureau:

“The population totals from the census determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. States also use the totals to redraw their legislative and school districts. The population totals also affect funding in your community, and data collected in the census help decision makers know how your community is changing.”

The community impact that the upcoming census may have is vast, and the list of ways the census information is used is extensive. (See Appendix A: 50 Ways Data Are Used.)

Spoiler Alert: You may be the leader you’re looking for…

As you begin to question and search for who is doing the work around Census 2020, you may find that no one has started. And that’s ok! What lead me to be appointed as the chair of the Complete Count Committee for the City of Columbia is simply asking questions and not stopping until I found an answer worthy of the community I serve. After being informed that the City of Columbia was already making this a priority (no surprise there), I offered to lend my gifts in whatever way I can. Of course, I have experience in community organizing and other assets to bring to the table, but at its core is the heart and passion for the task at hand. And that is equally important if not at times more important. 

Actionable Steps...Steps you can take!

Whenever new topics are thrown into the mix, the question of organizational capacity is always one that rises to the top. Here are a few quick tips that may resonate with your organization.

1. Arm yourself with trusted Information

In the age of information, it is hard to sift through the wide birth of data being generated every day. Here are a few tools to consider. 

  •  Census.Gov - Your one stop shop for all of your Census needs.
  •  2020census.Gov - Access to official Census 2020 operational plans, FAQs and more.
  •  Response Outreach Area Mapper (ROAM). Find out how well your state is doing by assessing the hard-to-survey areas.
  •  Hard to Count 2020 - Another tool that can assist in identifying hard-to-count areas.
  •  Confidentiality -  Did you know it is a crime to share identifiable information given on the census? Individual records are protected by law (Title 44, U.S. Code) and confidential for 72 years!
  • American FactFinder - Ever wonder where all that information goes? This is an easy way to pull the data you need from the American Community Survey.

2. Educate your staff and board

Getting buy-in from all those involved not only leads to better outcomes but also increases the number of people in the community who can speak to the importance of Census 2020. 

  •  Request a presentation or the information of the representative working in your county. Contact the regional office for your state. For South Carolina, it is The Atlanta Regional Office. This office is also responsible for North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
  • Host a Census Solutions Workshop (See Appendix C): Businesses, city officials, community-based organizations, or any other persons or groups can host a workshop. The Census Bureau created a toolkit that gives step-by-step guidance on how to host a workshop. The toolkit is available at For more information, please contact U.S. Census Bureau at

3. Educate your constituents/clients.

With the changes being made to Census 2020. The more we can dispel myths and prepare communities for the upcoming Census, the better we will all be. 

4. Make the information you share available to all of your clients.

While the U.S. Census Bureau has done their best to provide clear and concise information on their website, access to that information presents a challenge for all communities.

5. Develop an organizational plan

How will your organization send out the information? Will it be by mail, Facebook page, flyers in waiting rooms, in bathroom stalls, etc.? No way is right or wrong. This plan will depend on the organization and where you get the most engagement. The Census will be different this year, so having an understanding of the process and changes in advance is key.

  •  This step is especially important for organizations that serve hard to count populations (Examples of hard to count populations are; children, those experiencing homelessness and poverty, those who reside in rural areas.)

6. Serve as a partner for your local Complete Count Committee (CCC).

Many complete count committees will need trusted members of the community or organizations who will be willing to share information they develop to educate the community about the upcoming Census. 

7. Help the U.S. Census Bureau recruit new talent.

Help is needed at all levels. There are part-time and full-time options for all who apply.

8. Don’t stop there!

These are just examples, and there are many more ways
you can get engaged and help those that need the information. 

  • For assistance with strategies call your local CCC or County US Census Bureau Rep., etc. For additional information about the CCC Program, please contact your regional census center. South Carolina:
  • You do not have to be an official CCC to advocate for the Census. There may be other organizations and efforts taking place in your community. I have heard a buzz in various areas across the state, so this is exciting news. Happy searching! 


If the road ahead looks too daunting, I will leave you with this, “It is easy to get overwhelmed by the level of need. But you must take it one issue and one ‘grant’ at a time. Doing something will always be better than doing nothing. The risk is too high, not to do something,” Tom Keith, President, Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina.

My friends the risk is too high not to be engaged in this work! The future of South Carolina is relying on a complete and accurate count of all that reside in our state. And we are just the people to help make that happen. Happy Counting Everyone!

Let me know what you are doing to support Census 2020. I would love to know. Let’s keep the conversation going. #SCCounts 


When she speaks, people listen. Whether she is talking about the latest thing her baby boy learned, or telling the staff about the latest research she found, people listen because of Chynna’s fierce and passionate voice.

Chynna cares deeply about health equity and advocating for vulnerable populations, and uses her gift of voice to speak for and with others. Not only is she passionate about serving others, but she does it well. Chynna’s belief of “excellence is the standard by which you should operate” has been passed down from her family, and is evident in her work as the Foundation’s research and policy manager.

Lastly, Chynna has the ability to light up the office when she walks in. Making even the grumpiest morning person smile, her laughter and kind spirit is infectious. Ironically, she mirrors the character of her hero, Dorothy Irene Height. Height was a lifelong Civil Rights and Women’s Rights activist. Chynna admires Height’s commitment to what she believed in, her humility, and her poise. It is safe to say that Chynna is following in her footsteps.

Favorite Quote:
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” James Baldwin

Education: M.S.W. and M.P.H. (University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC); B.A. in Sociology (Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH)

Community Engagement: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Phi Alpha Social Work Honors Society

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The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina is a statewide foundation that works to reduce poverty through action, advocacy, and leadership. Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina is located in Columbia, South Carolina.

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Tags:  2020 Census  Advocacy  Census  Guiding Principles & Best Practices  Leadership  Public Policy  Sisters of Charity 

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