Pioneer Valley Complete Count Committee - Meeting Minutes

31 Oct 2019

Tuesday - October 22, 2019

Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

60 Congress Street, Springfield


1:00 - 1:15 Introductions and Partner Updates

  • Northampton and Amherst Complete Count Kick-Off Events


Pat Beaudry of PVPC noted that there have been several local kick-off events in the Valley since the previous month’s meeting, including in Northampton and Amherst, where Redistricting House Chair Paul Mark has been coordinating with his House colleagues to pull together local officials and stakeholders to formally begin the complete count process. 


In Amherst, a presentation was given by the Town’s Brianna Sunryd and Athena O’Keffee, Chair Mark, Rep. Mindy Domb, and US Census Partnership Manager Georgia Lowe, and PVPC’s Pat Beaudry, to officials, as well as people who work closely with Amherst’s college students, immigrants and refugees, low-income residents, and residents with disabilities to better understand the importance of focusing on so-called hard-to-count communities.


Northampton’s kick-off event was a press conference organized by Chair Mark and Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa included Mayor Narkewicz, the Census’ Georgia Lowe, PVPC’s Pat Beaudry, and a representative from the Pioneer Valley Workers Center, which concluded with a door-to-door canvass of downtown adjacent neighborhoods to raise awareness.


1:15 - 1:45 Presentation on DRAFT Engagement Plan

  • Paul Robbins, Consultant


Paul Robbins shared his draft plan for raising awareness for the 2020 Census. Key takeaways include the need to recruit spokespeople/a speakers bureau of trust community faces who can convey the importance and safety of participating.


He hopes to learn more about the Census’ media buy strategy so he can supplement that ‘air cover’ with additional local spots from aforementioned local messengers.


Additionally, there are opportunities to appear on local public affairs television and radio programming and submission of op-eds to local newspapers.


Paul and his team will be conducting focus groups over the next month to further refine outreach strategies for hard-to-count communities in the Valley.


The draft plan is available here. Please send feedback to


1:45 - 2:15 Discuss Massachusetts Census Equity Grant Strategy

  • Deadline is October 25th


Molly Goren-Watts of PVPC followed up on previous notes to the PVCCC raising awareness around the availability of funding for non-profits via the MA Census Equity Grant program.


It was noted PVPC and Valley Opportunity Council had been previous awardees making them ineligible, but a group application could be made in short order as the deadline was coming up.


OneHolyoke CDC shared that they were submitting a proposal to fund engagement by their outreach team in Holyoke’s hard-to-count census tracts - an area they already do considerable work in.


Ultimately, no PVCCC-coordinated proposal was agreed to.


2:15 - 2:30 Wrap Up, Other Businees, and Set Next Meeting Time

  • Does Fourth Tuesday of the Month Work for Folks?


Susan Hagen, US Census Partnership Specialist shared that they are in full-blown recruitment mode at the moment and working with college campuses and community organizations to help good local people apply for positions that will be coming online in the spring.

Naomi Klayman of MassHire Holyoke expressed a great willingness to open their computer banks for participation drives next year and hopes to have others throughout the Valley do the same.

More to be determined on best practices for such efforts.

The fourth Tuesday of the month as a standard meeting time yielded mixed responses.