City of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego announced on Thursday the city’s public-private partnership with Cisco and Microsoft in support of the iCount 2020 campaign.
iCount 2020 is a regional campaign of the Maricopa Association of Governments of which the City of Phoenix is a partner. iCount 2020 includes a website, icount2020.info, targeted advertising to diverse audiences and a PR campaign to promote awareness in achieving a successful census count in 2020.
Along with Phoenix city council members Debra Stark and Michael Nowakowski, Kyle Thornton, education portfolio manager for the Cisco Foundation, Paul Englis, senior program manager for the Microsoft Datacenter Community Development Team, census officials and business partners, Mayor Gallego announced the City of Phoenix’s partnership with Cisco and Microsoft. The partnership will help increase Phoenix census outreach and awareness through 2020 Census Outreach Vehicles with state-of-the-art technology. Six City of Phoenix vehicles are equipped with Cisco and Microsoft technology including tablet computers will travel to Phoenix’s most undercounted neighborhoods to provide census information to individuals through June 2020; they will be mainstays at community venues and sporting events.
The former city Dial-a-ride vans have been repurposed with digital capabilities with the goal to have the vehicles easily and quickly deployed to communities to conduct outreach and help people complete their online census form.
“This census will be different from previous censuses, we will have the opportunity to respond by internet and phone for the first time ever as well as the traditional mail-in method,” Mayor Gallego said. “Digital response means that we will be able to see responses as they come in day by day, neighborhood by neighborhood, it will help us tailor our outreach to those who haven’t responded, to know where to send these fabulous vans.”
“Microsoft has a strong commitment to civic responsibility,” Englis said. “Our technology touches billions of lives around the globe every day, and our business practices and our policies reflect a commitment to making sure that that technology is used for positive things and that includes accepting the responsibility that our technology can create opportunities, build bridges, advance communities and enable smart cities.”
Englis said equipping the 2020 Census Outreach Vehicles with tablet computers will provide a way to further educate residents on all aspects of the census and facilitates access to the online census form if residents lack hardware and connectivity.
“The census digital technology will be critical to a complete count in the community and we are proud to partner with the City of Phoenix on this unique project, providing people who interact with the outreach vehicles a positive experience through high-performing connectivity,” Thornton said.
Each year, the U.S. government distributes $675 billion to cities and states nationwide, if Arizona achieves an accurate and complete population count, the state stands to receive about $20 billion, which is nearly $3,000 for every person counted.
“Recently, Phoenix voters spoke loud and clear about how much they value the services provided by the City of Phoenix, and today we are gathered to kick off a campaign of an effort that is truly a lifeline of those services, the Phoenix 2020 census,” said Albert Santana, census director for the City of Phoenix. “The campaign’s goal is to ensure all efforts are made so that every household, every community and every person living in Phoenix participates in the 2020 Census.”
“We are committed to having one of the most fun Census efforts ever as well as one of the most accurate,” Mayor Gallego said. “It is a big job to conduct the census in America’s fastest-growing city and that’s why we’re launching innovative partnerships like we have not seen throughout this country before.”
“We are proud of our iCount 2020 effort which recognizes that each of us counts individually towards the success of our entire community, and that individuals can work together but we collectively benefit from counting each and every person who lives here,” Mayor Gallego said.
“The census helps determine our congressional delegation and makes sure we get the representation we need and deserve when we have federal funds distributed. In Phoenix, many city services rely on federal funding including the census vans, census helps us get police, fire services, libraries, parks, housing and education. We receive $866 million annually and an accurate census count helps us prepare for the future needs of our community.”