Census 2020

MCN Census Grants

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits is offering grants (up to $5,000) to Minnesota nonprofits to promote participation in the 2020 U.S. Census. MCN expects to award a total of $135,000 in grants this funding round. Please download our application for more details. Any questions or comments can be sent to Michelle Chang at mchang@minnesotanonprofits.org or via phone at 651-757-3078.

Organizations that are receiving funding from other sources for the census may not be eligible for MCN census grants. Please contact Michelle Chang for more information and to confirm eligibility. 

Not sure what you can do? Here are some example activities that your organization can do for the three grants:

  • With an education grant an organization can host a panel discussion featuring speakers such as: Susan Brower, State Demographics Center; Michelle Chang, policy and equity coordinator at MCN; someone from your field of work who cares about the census; a community member; etc. The event can be open to the surrounding community of the organization or specifically to constituents. At the event the organization can offer food and commit people to be counted with the commit to be counted link on a laptop. The event can start with Census 101 information and data protection then end with a panel discussion on the census. 
  • Table in front of your office and provide a laptop or iPad for community members to fill out their census forms. Give out swag (t-shirts, sunglasses, buttons, posters, stickers, and pens) with sayings that your targeted community can relate to and that encourages participation in the census.
  • Partner with another organization, call for volunteers, pull up addresses on a nonpartisan canvassing app, and go door knocking in your community.
  • Host a block party about the census, invite organizations such as the State Demographics Center, Voices for Racial Justice, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, and neighborhood associations to table and provide resources on the census. Have fun activities like a someone painting a mural to celebrate a neighborhood. Other fun activities can include face painting or having a wall where people can write why the census matters to them.

These are just a few examples – we encourage creativity in how your organization uses the grant money!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my organization eligible for MCN grants if we’ve received other census funding?

Yes, unless the funding came from state appropriated funds and is more than $5,000, or if your organization has received grants from the state (CCC grants, OMCC hub, or Native hub) totaling up to $5,000. 

Can we apply if we have a 501c(3) fiscal sponsor?

Yes, organizations fiscally sponsored by a 501c(3) can apply for MCN Census grants.

Interested in doing census work but not sure what sort of funding is available? The State Demographics Center has a FAQ sheet that might help with your questions.


What is the census?

The census is a part of democracy that matters to all Minnesotans. $15 billion allocated to Minnesota by U.S. census data is at stake. This critical funding supports vital programs like Medicaid, highway planning, and programs that aid low-income households, rural communities, and communities of color. Every person we count matters and contributes to our beautiful and vibrant community.

The census and nonprofits

Nonprofits have a critical role to promote community participation and build power. The census is about equity and inclusion and making sure that there is fair political representation and distribution of resources. We are all stronger when our democracy is strong. We are all stronger when communities are using their voice and power to help shape and change the systems that impact them every day – especially communities that have been historically disenfranchised.

How can nonprofits get involved?

  • Develop an internal strategy to develop a culture of civic participation within your organization. Is there census material out for staff, board, and volunteers? Do you send an all-staff email linking them to information on how to fill out their census form? Do you remind your internal staff that filling out the census is important and that they should participate?
  • Plan your organization’s census outreach & mobilization campaign. Host fun, engaging, census education efforts. Be creative! Give people good information about why and how to respond to the census.
  • Take our nonprofit census pledge! By taking our pledge your organization acknowledges the importance of the census and is committed to doing at least one thing to mobilize MN. Head over and take MCN’s 2020 census mobilization pledge --> http://bit.ly/MCNCensusPledge
  • Stay tuned to the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ work on the census. For more information contact Michelle Chang, policy and equity coordinator, at (mchang@minnestoanonprofits.org.