AUSTIN, Texas – The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health is pleased to announce that as part of its $2.1 million Texas Communities Count initiative, it has partnered with Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. to co-fund four of the 28 organizations that received funds for the initiative. The funds support these organizations’ complete count efforts in Texas for the 2020 U.S. Census.
Methodist Healthcare Ministries generously gifted the Hogg Foundation a $210,000 grant to support the four grantees. Thanks to their gift, the availability of funds for other worthy projects was significantly expanded.
The primary focus of Texas Communities Count is to aid collaborative approaches that will reach traditionally hard-to-count (HTC) populations, communities and geographic areas throughout the state. The goal is to encourage participation in the 2020 Census so that every person in Texas is counted. The four Methodist Healthcare Ministries-supported grantees cover a wide region of South Texas and their activities in the region help ensure that the initiative has the widest possible impact.
The four grantees are:
- Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network: Nuestra Voz Cuenta: Census 2020. Focusing on Hidalgo and Cameron counties with a three-phase plan targeting immigrants, rural communities and colonias.
- Rural Economic Assistance League, Inc. (REAL): Cada Persana Cuenta (Each Person Counts & Matters). Program focuses on 12 counties in the Coastal Bend with a four-phased plan targeting the colonias, raising awareness and providing onboard assistance with completing forms for transportation clients.
- Southwest Area Regional Transit (SWART): SWART Sees 2020. Program will serve nine rural counties in the middle Rio Grande Valley area and will feature outreach to transportation clients, as well as in-community locations such as adult day care centers and job fairs.
- Texas Association of Community Development Corporations: Rio Grande Valley Census Complete Count. Program will serve eight counties along the Texas-Mexico border, from Brownsville to Laredo, and feature in-person outreach to low-income and vulnerable populations who typically trust the staff at community development corporations (CDCs).
All told, 28 counties in South Texas will be touched in some way by the work of these grantees. In addition to determining political representation and district boundaries for every level of government, an accurate and complete census is necessary to ensure fair allocation of federal dollars for resources, services and infrastructure that support Texans’ everyday quality of life.
“Making sure that all Texans are counted and that the state receives its fair share of federal funding is a large and complex undertaking and we are proud to join the effort alongside great partners such as the Hogg Foundation,” said Jaime Wesolowski, president & CEO of Methodist Healthcare Ministries. “We know 71 out of the 74 counties we serve in South Texas are medically underserved. A complete count is vital to help families living in these areas access resources that are critically important to their health and wellness, such as healthy foods through the SNAP program, early childhood education opportunities through HEAD Start and other important programs that will help to create resilient families and thriving communities across Texas.”
“The Census is a unique opportunity for philanthropy across the state to come together to affirm shared values of equity and inclusiveness.” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation and senior associate vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. “We are proud to stand with Methodist Healthcare Ministries in this effort.”
“With their presence in South Texas, Methodist Healthcare Ministries understands the stakes for their communities,” said Crystal Viagran, director of finance and operations for the Hogg Foundation and project lead for the Texas Communities Count initiative. “Their participation is a signal to others that an accurate 2020 Census is critical to the well-being of the people of Texas.”