Request for Proposals

Community-based Outreach Grants for Hard to Count Communities

NM Counts 2020 Funder Collaborative has raised $225,000 in dedicated funding for Community Based Outreach Grants for Hard to Count (HTC) Communities. The goal is to increase participation rates in HTC New Mexico communities by 5%. Grants range from $5,000 to $25,000. Three rounds of awards will be announced beginning May 31, 2019 and ending by April 17, 2020. The first round of grants were awarded on June 7, 2019. Future rounds will be announced soon.


Grant funding will focus on three of the most HTC population groups living in New Mexico communities that include immigrants, households with young children under five, and Native Americans living within Tribes, Pueblos and the Navajo Nation in New Mexico.

Ensuring the highest level of participation, HTC communities in the 2020 Census will require a coordinated and well-informed effort that focuses on educating, engaging and assisting HTC communities. Larger grant amounts are available to collaborative efforts among nonprofits, service providers and other sectors. Priority will be given to efforts in HTC communities. Proposals should include clear strategies of engagement and measurable objectives. Proposals include but are not limited to the areas listed below:

  • Public education campaigns
  • Media/communications
  • Trainings
  • Special events
  • Leveraging and adapting existing materials
  • Engaging in social media
  • Immigrant legal service support
  • Outreach and Education

Although most of New Mexico is considered HTC, follow these links to see the degree to which a community is considered HTC:

NM Counts 2020 Accomplishments to Date

  • NM Counts 2020 is an outreach campaign supported by a group of New Mexico foundations in partnership with the Census Working Group to help ensure that all New Mexicans are counted in the 2020 Census, especially in the most HTC and reach communities.
  • In partnership with the UNM Geospatial Population Studies team, NM Counts 2020 jointly invested with the NM Legislature $363,500 to conduct a review of the Local Update of Census Address (LUCA) file. These efforts added over 100,000 addresses missing from the U.S. Census Bureau’s files, primarily in New Mexico’s Colonias, Tribal areas, and areas of new construction.
  • Raised over $735,000 for NM Counts 2020.
  • Joined national philanthropic and advocacy efforts by drafting and signing a letter calling for the removal of a citizenship question on the 2020 census form.
  • Supported the UNM-Geospatial Population Studies to create a website that identifies the location of hard to count communities and the financial impact of an undercount to those political subdivisions. We encourage grant seekers to utilize these tools in their application and work because this will be part of our evaluation criteria.

What’s at Stake for New Mexico

New Mexico received over $7.8 billion through 55 federal spending programs guided by the 2010 Census. Just a 1% undercount of New Mexicans in 2020 could result in a $750 million loss of federal assistance over a 10-year period.

  • Each New Mexican not counted equates to a loss of approximately $3,000 every year for the next decade for critical programs below.
  • Businesses rely on census data for market planning, new products and determining locations for plants or offices.
  • Census data provide the formula basis for transportation, education and workforce development federal funding.

New Mexico is One of the Hardest-to-Count States in the Nation

Based on the latest census estimates, approximately 43% of our state’s current population (or 888,033 people) lives in HTC neighborhoods. New Mexico faces serious challenges to achieve an accurate count.

  • In 2016, New Mexico had a foreign-born population of 9.5% or 198,406 residents. This means that nearly 1 in 10 residents were immigrants, and more surprisingly and consequential, 60.4% were non-citizens. Moreover, 74.5% of this group came from Latin America.
  • Nearly 108,000 people live on 140 colonias spread across 11 counties.
  • New Mexico has a Hispanic or Latino population of 48.8% compared to 18.1% across the US.
  • The US has an American Indian population of 1.3%, New Mexico has 10.9% — 227,600 people — spread across 19 pueblos and 4 reservations.
  • During 2013-17, 26.3% of New Mexico’s households had either no internet access or dial up-only.

Learning Network

Grant recipients will have the opportunity to share data, findings, challenges and innovations with other grantees through a learning network, facilitated through convenings and resource hubs.