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The Massachusetts Census Equity Fund’s mission is to support community organizations and grassroots leaders who are organizing within their community to ensure the most accurate count in the Commonwealth. We are focusing especially on those who are often undercounted and in areas facing historic barriers to this Census.


Click here to learn about the organizations who received grants from MCEF. 

HISTORY: Massachusetts Census Equity Fund 2010

In 2010 Massachusetts faced numerous challenges regarding redistricting and were at risk of losing a legislative seat. We also faced the ramifications of fraudulent actions at the state legislative level resulting from unfair use of data from the 2000 Census.


Facing this reality Access Strategies Fund reached out to funders across the state to partner and launch the Massachusetts Census Equity Fund with the following goals:

  1. Increase Census response turnout by 5% in our Hard to Count(HTC) communities

  2. Increase the capacity of community organizations for civic engagement and community organizing.

  3. Foster funder collaborations on civic engagement and develop best practices in the area of census outreach.

  4. Document lessons learned from organizations involved in census activities.


In just a 6 month period we accomplished so much!

  • 12 funders came together to commit resources, time and talent to raise over $1 million and awarded 30 grants across the state.

  • Over half the communities where grantees worked increased their mail participation rates from 2000.

  • 96% of organizations stated that participating in census outreach increased their capacity for civic engagement and community organizing.

What we learned during this process was long lasting:

  • Reaching HTC communities requires creative strategies and dedicated on-the-ground staff and volunteers that represent the communities being reached.

  • Appropriate language and cultural outreach strategies are essential to increasing participation of HTC communities.

  • Funder and grantee initiatives are critical for statewide collaboration, particularly for rural and underserved communities.

  • Organizations and communities need more time to educate and inform their constituents about the importance of the Census.

  • Partnership is key - State, Census, Elected officials, grasstops and grassroots ALL need to be in communication with one another as much as possible, and we can help make that happen.



Fund Partners


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Herman & Frieda L. Miller Foundation



Katie Campbell Simons

Project Consultant

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