Press Release: NYDIS Announced as $200,000 Complete Count Fund Awardee




New York, NY: New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS) is pleased to announce it has received a $200,000 award from the NYC Complete Count Fund — a partnership between CUNY, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the New York City Council. The NYC Complete Count Fund is a first-of-its-kind Census-related community organizing program that will support and resource community-based organizations to help NYC reach a full and accurate count in the 2020 Census. These funds will support the outreach to four historically undercounted or overlooked populations.

The Complete Count Fund was built with the understanding that local community-based organizations — which serve New Yorkers in the communities where they live and in the languages that they speak — are the most trusted messengers of important and sensitive information.

NYDIS is proud to join this coordinated citywide effort to build awareness about the census, convey its importance, fight the spread of mis- and disinformation, and help bridge the digital divide that might prevent many New Yorkers from participating in next year’s first online census.

NYDIS is the NYC faith sector lead organization during disaster response and recovery – working to build resiliency amongst all faith communities through preparedness and training initiatives. NYDIS maintains sustainable, trusting, and operational relationships with all faith communities. But particularly in communities of color and immigrant faith communities. NYDIS will build on those relationships to conduct outreach to four under-counted or vulnerable populations: Buddhists, Sikhs, people experiencing homelessness, and Hurricane Maria evacuees from Puerto Rico.

“This award from the NYC Complete Count Fund to partner with two of our members, the Buddhist Council of New York and the United Sikhs, will equip NYDIS with the resources necessary to leverage our expertise and capacity to better ensure an accurate and complete Census 2020 count, with four traditionally under-counted or traditional vulnerable communities. We are grateful for this opportunity to help ensure NYC, and its diverse communities, are fully represented in the 2020 Census and all its corresponding federal benefits,” says NYDIS’ Executive Director & CEO, Peter B. Gudaitis, M.Div.

A complete and accurate count is critical to the future of New York City. The census will determine how more than $650 billion in federal funds for public education, public housing, roads and bridges, and more, gets distributed annually throughout the country. It will also determine the number of seats each state is allocated in the House of Representatives (and thus, the Electoral College). Based on current estimates, an undercount could cost the State of New York up to two congressional seats.

In such a complex city, enriched by such linguistic and cultural diversity, New York City’s full participation in the first online census faces a unique set of challenges. As New Yorkers, we have

embraced these challenges as an opportunity. Together, these citywide efforts will lay the groundwork for a civic engagement apparatus that will continue well beyond the 2020 census.

The Complete Count Fund will launch in early January with an all-day kick-off event and training.

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NYDIS is a faith-based federation of over 60 diverse judicatories, disaster human services providers, and charitable organizations who work in partnership to provide disaster readiness, response, and recovery services to New York City – and, support recovery in disaster-impacted communities with a direct connection to NYC. NYDIS, in partnership with NYC Emergency Management & the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, has lead agency responsibilities for Emotional & Spiritual Care, Evacuee Services, Faith Sector Community Preparedness, Temporary Housing, Unmet Needs, and Volunteer Group Housing.

About NYC Census 2020

NYC Census 2020 was established as a first-of-its-kind organizing initiative by Mayor de Blasio to ensure a complete and accurate count of all New Yorkers in the 2020 Census. The program is built on four pillars: (1) a community-based awards program, The New York City Complete Count Fund; (2) an in-house “Get Out the Count” field campaign; (3) an innovative, multi-lingual, tailored messaging and marketing; as well as (4) an in-depth Agency and Partnerships engagement plan that seeks to leverage the power of the City’s 350,000-strong workforce and the city’s major institutions, including libraries, hospitals, faith-based, cultural institutions, and higher educational institutions, and more, to communicate with New Yorkers about the critical importance of census participation.