In response to the expected undercount of New Yorkers in the 2020 Census, especially of historically undercounted and under-resourced communities, Robin Hood spearheaded the 2020 Census Initiative, a three-pronged strategy to (1) allocate targeted grants to trusted community groups; (2) provide our partners with the resources needed to get out the count, even in the wake of COVID-19; and (3) share learnings and coordinate our strategy with the field.

Robin Hood Census Partners

To date, we have allocated more than $500,000 to support the census work of 67 community based organizations across the five boroughs. We are also glad to share that the impact of our census investments is being augmented by our relief efforts at Robin Hood. To date, more than 30 of Robin Hood’s census partners have applied for and been approved for grants from the Robin Hood COVID-19 Relief Fund.


Community Asset Maps

We have supported the development of interactive community asset maps in partnership with United Way of New York City and Hester Street. These maps–which identify “community assets” such as schools, senior centers, grocery stores, and medical centers–simplify remote outreach by enabling partners to identify not only neighborhoods with low self-response rates, but also local organizations with the capacity to galvanize community members through virtual or socially distanced activities. In addition, since the maps identify census tracts with limited internet accessibility, for example, they enable our partners to tailor their strategies to those that are most relevant for each neighborhood.

Census Convenings by Borough

In partnership with United Way and Hester Street, we have also hosted virtual webinars by borough to make sure that historically undercounted communities get counted for the census. Through these convenings, Robin Hood partners connected with other community-based groups and tools to help form sustainable collaboration. Sessions focused on the use of asset maps to define census strategy, engagement tactics during COVID-19 focused on hard-to-count populations, and neighborhood-level strategies. Over 150 organizations attended from all five boroughs, sharing key take-aways to support census outreach.

In the coming weeks, we will continue to work with our census partners to drive resources into New York City neighborhoods by maximizing participation in the census.

Take-aways from these convenings can be found below. Census outreach strategies are recommended to the extent consistent with Census Bureau guidelines

Census Session - 2020 No City Limits Conference

At this year’s No City Limits: Reimagining the Poverty Fight conference, Robin Hood Leadership Council member, Kaya Henderson, led Sheena Wright of United Way of New York City; Jennifer Jones-Austin of FPWA; Meeta Anand of New York Immigration Coalition; and Melva Miller of the Association for a Better New York– in an interactive session that shared strategies for census outreach and challenged all participants to get out the count in Census 2020. Please find the No City Limits 2020 Census Session here:

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