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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Green


The Steps Coalition, Back Bay Mission, and Boat People SOS (“The Collaborative”) are pleased to announce that we have secured $67,500 in grant funding to support “Complete Count” initiatives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson Counties) to ensure that traditionally “hard-to-count” populations – African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American (Vietnamese), and the Homeless – participate in the 2020 Census. Full participation in the decennial census, which is mandated by the United States Constitution, is critically important because the results will determine a state’s legislative representation in congress and its share of Federal apportionments for the next 10 years.

The result of the census will directly impact the funding and other resources that communities have available for K-12 education, healthcare, infrastructure development, public transportation, higher education, workforce development, and affordable housing to name just a few. Consequently, we want to make sure that every man, woman, and child is included in the 2020 Census so that the state of Mississippi and in particular the Mississippi Gulf Coast can have access to the resources to which we are entitled based on the “total” number of residents who live here.

Toward this end, we will be awarding mini-grants, ranging in size from $2,500 - $5,000, to community-based, 501(c)(3) certified, nonprofit, faith-based, and civic organizations that demonstrate that they have the ability and capacity to engage hard-to-count members of their community to help residents learn about the importance of the census, how the census process will work, and provide technical assistance to eliminate any barriers that may exist for resident participation. The application for this grant will be open from Monday, January 6, 2020 to Friday, January 24, 2020. Grant awards will be announced on Friday, January 31, 2020 and grant checks will be issued the first week of February 2020. In order to qualify for a grant award, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  1. The applicant must be able to establish that they have been in operation for at least 3 years.

  2. The applicant must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, community, civic or faith-based organization.

  3. The applicant must be able to provide 2 years of financial statements (audited preferred, but not required).

  4. The applicant must demonstrate that a key part of their mission is to serve traditionally hard-to-count populations including but not limited to African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, and Homeless communities.

  5. The applicant’s primary service area must be comprised of Hancock, Harrison, or Jackson counties.

  6. The applicant must be able to establish the number of residents that it has served during the last 3 years, the counties in which they reside, and their demographic make-up.

  7. The applicant must submit a written proposal regarding the programs that it proposes to implement to ensure a complete count of its target population.

  8. The applicant must be able to establish that it has the capacity (people, facilities, organizational capability/skills) to deliver the program that it proposes for the duration of the grant period: February 1st – June 30th, 2020.

  9. The applicant must be willing to submit a final report highlighting the impact of its program within 45 days of the close of the grant period which will end on June 30, 2020.

  10. All applications and supporting documentation must be submitted to the Steps Coalition via email at no later than 5:00 pm Central Standard Time (CST) on Friday, January 24, 2020.

How the grant awards may be used:

  1. Website updates to educate residents about the importance of the 2020 Census.

  2. Development of targeted, printed materials, commitment cards, and posters that educate residents about the Census and key Census dates.

  3. Hosting of town hall meetings and public events that make learning about the Census engaging and fun.

  4. Set-up of hub-sites where residents can come for technical assistance and complete the Census form online or via phone.

  5. The implementation of a door-to-door education campaign in the applicant’s target geography.

  6. Other innovative and engaging techniques to teach the community about the 2020 Census and get them committed to participation.

Prohibited use of grant award funds:

  1. Applicants may not use the grant award for general capacity building or capital projects.

  2. Applicants may not use the grant award to supplement 2020 voter registration or Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) campaigns.

  3. Applicants may not use the grant award for any lobbying or lobbying related activities.

The Steps Coalition, Back Bay Mission, and Boat People SOS believe that this mini-sub-grant provides an excellent opportunity for Mississippi Gulf Coast residents to “Stand Up and Be Counted” and we sincerely hope that your organization will take this opportunity to help us achieve a “COMPLETE COUNT” during the 2020 Census.

To request a copy of the grant application, please send an email to We thank you in advance for your support and participation in this complete count initiative.


Jonathan A. Green,

Executive Director

Steps Coalition

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