Be Counted UP Grant RFP

About Be Counted U.P. 

The United States Constitution requires the residential population of the country be counted every 10 years. A complete and accurate count is vital for communities. Census data is used to distribute funding for road repairs, school improvements and social programs. The number and distribution of elected officials are based on Census data. Nonprofit organizations, businesses and governments use Census data to identify community needs and evaluate solutions to difficult problems. 

The Census has historically missed certain communities—communities of color, urban and rural low-income households, immigrants and young children—at disproportionately high rates. Being undercounted deprives these communities of equal political representation and private and public resources.

Communities at Risk of Being Undercounted:

The following populations are at risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census.

  • Communities of color
  • Non-English speakers
  • Low-income persons
  • Persons experiencing homelessness
  • Undocumented immigrants
  • Young children
  • Persons with mental or physical disabilities
  • Persons who do not live in traditional housing 
  • LGBTQ persons
  • Highly mobile persons
  • Geographically isolated persons
  • Physically isolated persons
  • Persons who distrust the government

Priority Areas

Four areas of the Upper Peninsula did not receive their maximum funding in the first round of the RFP. Projects in the following counties will receive priority in the funding determinization process:

  • Alger County
  • Delta County
  • Gogebic County
  • Ontonagon County

Impact of Census participation 

A fair and accurate count in Census 2020 is vital for the Upper Peninsula. Researchers estimate that for every person not counted, communities will lose about $1,800 per year in federal funds. As trusted members of the communities they serve, Michigan nonprofit organizations are well positioned to engage on this issue and encourage Census participation. 

Grant Opportunity

With support from Michigan Nonprofit Association, the Community Foundation of Marquette County, the Community Foundation of the Upper Peninsula, and Grow & Lead are offering grants for projects that:  

  • Engage and educate undercounted communities about the importance of the 2020 Census 
  • Familiarize communities with the Census process and changes to the 2020 Census
  • Develop and implement effective strategies to boost Census participation and support communities beyond the life of the project 

Potential project ideas include, but are not limited to: 

  • Volunteers and staff of a neighborhood service organization canvassing blocks with iPads
  • A youth center hosting a “Census Party” to encourage family participation in the Census and have volunteers available to help participants complete the Census online
  • A non-traditional nonprofit media source writing a series of articles leading up to the 2020 Census to educate their readers about what’s at stake and how to be counted
  • Human service providers setting up a kiosk for individuals to learn more about the Census and complete it online

Grant Details 

Funding is anticipated to run September 2019 through August 2020

  • Funding of up to $5,000 per county served will be available 
  • Collaboration with other organizations and leveraging other sources of funds are encouraged
  • Projects spanning multiple counties will be accepted 
  • Grantee organizations will be required to participate in monthly shared learning opportunities within their region (Eastern, Central, Western U.P.) and a statewide evaluation process
  • Grantee organizations will be required to submit a report at the end of the grant period to share results and demonstrate that all funds were spent as intended


September 23, 2019               Grantmaking opportunity announced

November 1, 2019                Completed proposals must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. eastern time

Early December, 2019                 Grant decisions and award information will be shared with applicants. Payment will be in late August or early September, conditional upon receiving signed terms of grant agreement. 

January 2020         Awards will be publicly announced

REQUIRED Basic Eligibility Criteria:

  • Emerging and established organizations at all stages of work are encouraged to apply for funding
  • To be selected for funding, organizations must be a legally incorporated entity in Michigan with 501(c)(3) status or a project sponsored by a government agency with a clear charitable purpose. Organizations with a fiscal sponsor are also eligible to apply.
  • The campaign does not fund individuals
  • Campaign support cannot be used for partisan efforts
  • Organizations must satisfy all reporting requirements including narrative and financial reports

REQUIRED Additional Criteria:

  • Proven track record of serving or representing those who are most at risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census
  • Clear understanding of the challenges, including institutional and structural issues, the community faces in obtaining an accurate Census count
  • An organized constituency base and concrete goals/strategies to get-out-the-count in their community
  • Organization aims to have staff, volunteers and board that are reflective of the community at-risk of being undercounted

Budget Template

As part of the application, you will need to submit a budget. A budget template is available for download here:

Prioritizing Equity

Equity means recognizing the need to eliminate disparities from historically underserved and underrepresented populations. It also means the creation of opportunities, sharing of resources, and empowering communities to civic action. 

We recognize that there are many different approaches to getting-out-the-count and we value diversity in our funding. We believe that the communities most affected by inequity already hold the knowledge of what needs to be done to make sure their communities are counted in the census. We are committed to addressing policies and practices that perpetuate disproportionality and believe a focus on equity is a critical strategy.