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Census Mini-Grants Help Chilton Library Reach Out

Census results are used to target more than $675 billion in federal funds to states/counties for programs that support local residents, guide community decision-making affecting schools, housing, health care, emergency services and more. Make sure you are counted in the 2020 U.S. Census!


By Rebecca Barry, assistant director, Chilton Public Library

Thanks to a $774 mini-grant from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation, the Chilton Public Library was able to reach out to the community and encourage members to respond to the 2020 Census. The Census is scheduled to end Sept. 30.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, many of the places we were going to offer outreach are not allowing people in. However, they have let us place information about filling out the census, including posters. We placed two community posters at the local laundromat and our staff worked two of the outreach days at the Chilton Farmers Market. The posters were in normally high trafficked areas, including the laundromat, the Salvation Army Calumet County, Hilde’s Deli windows, and Lupita Mexican grocery store.

We also offered Sunday hours through the summer to assist the community in filling out the census.

The library was one of 13 organizations to receive a Census Mini-Grant from more than $16,000 awarded by the Bright Idea Fund. These small grants supported the outreach efforts of local nonprofits, government entities, schools and tribes in Outagamie, Calumet, Shawano, Waupaca and Neenah-Menasha area of Winnebago counties. Priority was given to efforts that promised to reach historically undercounted populations.

The estimated people directly impacted from this grant is hard to gauge due to the pandemic, however, our service coverage in the City of Chilton is 3,791 people. Using the Census Response Rate Tool, we can see that Calumet County has had 83.1% self-responded (of those 73.5% by internet), with the city of Chilton having a 77.4% self-respond rate (62.4% by internet).

The census is important because it provides critical data that determines where to build new schools, hospitals and businesses; how more than $675 billion in federal funding is distributed; and how congressional seats are appointed. It is estimated Wisconsin could lose roughly $1,600 per person per year in federal support for programs such as Medicaid, Pell Grants, School Breakfast, Head Start and SNAP if people are undercounted.

There is still time to fill out the census – click here!


Want to help bright ideas burn even brighter? Learn how to get involved as a donor, or learn how to apply for a Bright Idea grant as a nonprofit organization.

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