Stand up and be counted: SVCF holds legislative briefing on Census 2020

Census Panel

On May 18, in partnership with Northern California Grantmakers, Silicon Valley Community Foundation hosted a legislative briefing about the upcoming Census 2020 with State Senator Richard Pan, chair of the Senate’s Select Committee on the Census, and State Assemblyman Marc Berman, chair of the Assembly’s Select Committee on the Census.

The focus of the event, which was attended by 30 guests including local funders and foundation staff, was to discuss the best ways to leverage philanthropic investments to ensure a complete and accurate count of all people in California on the Census 2020 and to identify opportunities for philanthropic impact.

Counting all Californians is vital to our democratic representation, to funding programs that benefit our most under-served communities and to the accurate analysis that our government, businesses and educational systems use to plan for the future. The Census count is critical and we are facing new and greater challenges, including fear and distrust of the government, untested technology, and the potential for bad actors to use social media to deliver messages designed to decrease participation.

"The Census is about allocating resources but it’s also about defining the narrative of our country. If you don’t stand up to be counted, you’re lost to history," said Senator Pan during the meeting at SVCF. "We need a coordinated message that it’s important, it’s cool and it’s safe to participate in Census 2020."

According to Chris Punonbayan, Northern California Grantmakers’ director of equity and social justice, California has been deemed the hardest to count state in the country. SVCF believes that we must leverage all available resources, both public and philanthropic, effectively to achieve a complete and accurate count. This briefing event was the first step to establishing robust communication channels with our legislators and our foundation partners, enabling us to work together to achieve this common goal.

If you're interested in learning more, email You can also contact your local legislators and tell them we must allocate sufficient funds to ensure that every California is counted in Census 2020.

Census 2020

Gina Dalma, SVCF Special Advisor to the CEO and Vice President of Government Relations, Senator Richard Pan, Assemblyman Marc Berman