Fresno Regional Foundation Presents City of Fresno With $10,000 for Census Outreach Efforts
03/19/2010

Mayor Ashley Swearengin and members of the City’s Complete County Committee today praised the Fresno Regional Foundation for presenting a $10,000 grant to assist with the City’s outreach efforts for the U.S. Census.

Dan DeSantis, chief executive officer of the Fresno Regional Foundation, today presented the grant to Mayor Swearengin and other city officials during a City Hall news conference.

“I can’t emphasize strongly enough how important it is for all Fresno residents to participate in the U.S. Census,” Mayor Swearengin said. “I commend the Fresno Regional Foundation and its board of directors for recognizing its importance and stepping up to the plate to help us do everything we can to encourage our residents to fill out the census forms and send them in as soon as possible.”

“A few years ago the Fresno Regional Foundation Board of Directors created a fund to allow them to make discretionary grants for special purposes,” DeSantis said. “This ‘Fund for the Common Good’ has allowed them to advance the Foundation’s mission to improve to quality of life here in the Central Valley. When the board saw the recent editorials in the Fresno Bee calling attention to the importance of the Census Count, they unanimously voted to support the effort. Further, I personally want to commend the Mayor and the city for taking such a strong leadership role here.”

Fresno City Council member Blong Xiong added, “It will take these type of commitments and broad partnerships to help us in our efforts to make sure that everyone is counted.”

Census forms began arriving in mailboxes across the country earlier this week. Results of the census will help decide funding for schools, hospitals, roads, housing and a wide variety of other programs and services that will benefit local residents and businesses over the next 10 years.

The City of Fresno established a Complete Count Committee last year to reach out across the community to encourage participation in the census, especially among the “hard to count” populations. The committee – comprised of leaders from government, education, faith-based organizations, businesses, non-profits and the media – developed and implemented strategies to overcome barriers to participation, including economic conditions, language issues and cultural distrust.

The City of Fresno has undertaken a number of outreach efforts, including public service announcements in seven different languages -- English, Spanish, Hmong, Armenian, Punjabi, Cambodian and Portuguese.

Upcoming census-related events include:

• Later today and this weekend, the City will have a booth set up at the Big Fresno Fairgrounds to encourage Census participation as part of First Lady Maria Shriver’s We Connect event.

• On April 8, the Census Van Road Tour will be held at the United Way parking lot.

• On April 10, census tracts with low-response rates will be targeted in a “March to the Mailbox” effort, in which residents will be encouraged to mail back their questionnaire.

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