Make Manhattan Count Initiative

September 17, 2019

NEW YORK – Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer awarded grants to 12 community organizations as part of her Make Manhattan Count initiative to fund outreach efforts and encourage participation in advance of the 2020 Census.

The initiative, which awarded a total of $52,000, was designed to incentivize community based organizations to come up with creative solutions to reach historically under-counted communities, such as people of color, recent immigrants, young children, renters, formerly incarcerated people, and homeless people. It was spearheaded by Deputy Borough President Aldrin Bonilla, who served as the Director of the 2000 Census in Washington Heights and Inwood and achieved the highest mail response rate and non-response follow-up enumeration of any neighborhood in New York City that cycle.

“I can’t say it enough: there’s a lot at stake for New York City in the 2020 Census, from federal funding to our representation in Congress, so we have to make sure all Manhattan residents are counted,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “We studied historically under-counted communities to decide where extra work is needed and these organizations gave us the best proposals.”

“Rest assured in Manhattan we have our eyes on the prize: a full and accurate count that will secure the funding we need into the future for vital services like Medicare, SNAP, and school lunch programs.” said Deputy Borough President Aldrin Bonilla. “With these grants and the diverse membership of the Manhattan Complete Count Committee, we are building the network and dedicating the resources necessary to meet the real challenges of the 2020 Census.”

Winning proposals were submitted by the following organizations:

  • Emgage (in partnership with Tdjani Islamic Community of New York)
  • Korean American Immigrant Heritage Foundation
  • The Interfaith Center of New York
  • Uptown Grand Central
  • The Carter Burden Network
  • Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (in partnership with People’s Theater Project)
  • University Settlement Society of New York
  • Immigrant Social Services
  • NYS Conference of NAACP Branches
  • Vision Urbana

These organizations will mount social media campaigns, street team canvasses, community forums, faith-based messaging in sermons, kiosks at community centers and NYCHA facilities, public art exhibitions, theatrical performances, and information tables at concerts and festivals.

The review panel was made up of Brewer, Bonilla, and select members of the Manhattan Complete Count Committee, including Melva Miller of the Association for a Better New York, Mae Lee of Community Board 3, Lucia Gomez of the Central Labor Council, Santa Soriano-Vasquez of the Community Service Society, Shatic Mitchell of Community Board 10, and Nilsa Orama of Community Board 11. The panel assessed the applications based on the following criteria: 1) the organization’s ability to effectively manage grant funds; 2) population served; 3) program description and ability to ensure evaluation and success; 4) program budget; and 5) relationship of organization to the mission of the contracted city agency.