By Brandywine Health Foundation
The importance of the 2020 Census and the need to have all Chester County residents participate cannot be overstated. Anything less than full participation could negatively impact funds that support county schools and hospitals, build and repair roads, and contribute to many basic human services vital to meeting the needs of the community.
Chester County stands to lose $2,093 per person per year over a 10-year period for every individual not counted in the census. An under-count of Chester County’s population could result in imbalanced representation in congress and less federal grant money for local programs and larger programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Additionally, the ability of the community to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic depends greatly upon the amount of funds we receive from the federal government as a direct result of census participation.
In 2010, the Greater Coatesville area’s census participation rate was low. To avoid a repeat performance in 2020, it quickly became clear that the task of both informing the community about the importance of the 2020 Census and getting residents to complete the survey would require a comprehensive collaborative community effort. That effort began many months ago with the creation of the Chester County Complete Count Committee. Established by the Chester County Commissioners and led by the Chester County Planning Commission, this county-wide initiative continues to take numerous steps to inform the community and has identified several organizations, including the Brandywine Health Foundation, to serve as Census Champions.
“It is a privilege to be a part of this collaborative effort,” said Vanessa B. Briggs, president and CEO of the Brandywine Health Foundation. “As a Census Champion, our focus is on the Greater Coatesville residents that are often the hardest to reach and have the greatest social and economic need.”
To facilitate the best possible response rate in the Greater Coatesville community, the foundation has engaged the services of Chaya Scott Consulting, LLC. Scott is a Coatesville native dedicated to helping her community and has extensive knowledge of safety net providers. She is a valuable resource in reaching and engaging the Greater Coatesville community to positively impact 2020 Census participation.
The Coatesville Complete Count Committee consists of 10 nonprofit organizations, community residents, and leaders who all have a vested interest in ensuring that their friends, family members, staff, clients, and church members are counted. They are partnering with the Chester County Complete Count Committee and using their multi-language promotional materials and toolkits to educate, dispel myths, and raise awareness about the 2020 Census.
“The ultimate goal of the county-wide committee is to maximize Chester County’s participation in the 2020 Census,” Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell, and Michelle Kichline said in a joint statement. “Ensuring that every resident is counted is very important so that federal funds are guaranteed for crucial programs and services, especially for our most vulnerable citizens. We thank Vanessa and her team at the Brandywine Health Foundation for their partnership with the Coatesville Complete Count Committee and for bringing Chaya Scott on board to ensure every sector of the Coatesville community is contacted, engaged, and counted.”
The 2020 Census has already begun, and the most important thing Coatesville residents can do for the safety and welfare of our families and our community is to respond online, by phone, or by mail. Using these simple methods to complete the survey will minimize the future need for census takers to go out into the community to assist residents.
To help Greater Coatesville residents learn more about the 2020 Census and spread the word about easy ways to encourage others in the community to do the same, Brandywine Health Foundation has created an online tool kit complete with videos, posters, and more information that can be easily shared.
Click here to access the tool kit and to learn more about the Coatesville Complete Count Committee and how you can support the 2020 Census locally.