The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Sample Statement of Need
Here is an example of a statement of the problem that conveys to potential funders the importance of ensuring a complete and accurate counting in the 2010 census.
This statement makes a case for LCCREF's national campaign; you can adapt it with information about the particular needs and risks of undercounting in your communities.
Because the accuracy of the census directly impacts our nation's ability to ensure equal representation and equal access to important governmental resources for all Americans, LCCREF, the education, communications, and field outreach arm of the civil rights coalition, considers ensuring a fair and accurate census as one of the most significant civil rights issues facing the country today.
Census data directly affects decisions made on matters of national and local importance, including education, employment, veterans' services, public health care, rural development, the environment, transportation, and housing. Federal, state, and county governments use census information to guide the distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars in critical services. Decennial census data affects the development, implementation, and design of federal programs; the reapportionment of congressional seats; and the drawing of legislative districts. Census data is also used to monitor and enforce compliance with civil rights statutes and anti-discrimination laws. When it comes to governmental planning, to budget allocation, to redistricting, census data is the cornerstone to moving our society forward. Census data also helps non-governmental organizations gauge the success of, as well as make decisions about resource allocation for, their advocacy efforts.
The 2010 census will present new challenges for stakeholders. Concerns over privacy and confidentiality in a post-9/11 environment will no doubt make many individuals reluctant to voluntarily provide personal information to the government. Given national debates over civil liberties, many Americans, no matter their cultural backgrounds or economic circumstances, are more wary of government intrusions into their personal lives, perceived or real. On a related front, concerns about identity theft have left many people extremely cautious about providing personal information to anyone.
Another key challenge involves the real-life impact of natural and manmade disasters on LCCR communities. How the Census Bureau counts individuals displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita will likely have apportionment implications for those who do intend to go back to their hurricane-devastated homes, but who have not yet, for various reasons (such as the lack of redevelopment), been able to return. More recent displacements through foreclosures and job loss will also present challenges to the goal of achieving a fair and accurate count.
The nation's debate over the future of its immigration policy has created additional challenges in reaching newcomer populations. In the wake of state and local anti-immigrant initiatives, and immigration raids and other dragnets created by post 9/11 policies, special care will be required to enumerate the nation's immigrant population, regardless of their status.
Finally, there is the question of the level of preparedness of the Bureau itself. The ethnic, religious, and language makeup of America has significantly changed since 2000, as has the way people communicate and receive information. In April 2008, the Census Bureau announced it would drop plans to use handheld computers to help count Americans for the 2010 census, increasing the cost for the decennial census by as much as $1.3 billion, according to initial estimates. The decision by the Bureau to use paper forms rather than handhelds to follow up with residents who do not respond to initial inquiries will have serious consequences for LCCR communities, who tend to have higher non-response rates. Most recently, the Associated Press reported that the GAO had found that "critical preparations for the 2010 census are behind schedule and the Census Bureau has no clear strategy for improving the count of hard-to-reach minorities."
To the extent that millions of people—a disproportionate number of them minorities, low-income workers, and children—are missed in the census, the allocation of vital program funds and political representation are skewed for the next decade, and policymakers and private sector decision-makers work from a flawed blueprint when deciding how and where to invest limited resources.
For all of these reasons, there is a real need for increased involvement by all census stakeholders, and in particular, the civil and human rights community, to ensure that no one is left out of the upcoming census.
When you tailor this statement to suit your local needs, be sure to emphasize whatever local partnerships or coalitions are part of your campaign. Funders respond well to indications that organizations are working well together rather than operating in isolation or duplicating efforts.