About the Census Project
The Census Project is a collaboration of business and industry associations; civil rights advocates; state and local governments; social service agencies; researchers and scientific societies; planners; foundations; and nonprofits focused on housing, child and family welfare, education, transportation, and other vital services.
The Census Project is coordinated by the Communications Consortium Media Center.
About the Census Project Blog
The Census Project Blog offers commentary on current 2020 Census and ACS policy and operational issues. The blog was active from September 2009 to September 2010 to chronicle the 2010 Census and restarted in September 2011. The views expressed in each blog post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Census Project coalition members, collectively or individually.
About the Authors
Phil Sparks, communications consultant and co-director of The Census Project
Phil is a communications consultant who previously spent decades with the nonprofit Communications Consortium Media Center. He co-founded CCMC in 1988 and rejoined the organization in March 1998 after a three-year hiatus serving as associate director for communications of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Phil is currently co-director of the Census Project, which works to ensure a fair and accurate Census 2020 and American Community Survey. During his hiatus from CCMC, Phil coordinated a $100 million paid advertising campaign and a separate $100 million community outreach program to encourage public participation in Census 2000.
Phil specialized in family projects during his time at CCMC, including the Family and Medical Leave Coalition, the Act for Better Child Care Coalition, Census 2000, the Fairness Initiative on Low-Wage Work, the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities and the Early Care and Education Collaborative, among others.
In his 30-year career in public interest communications, Phil was previously director of public affairs for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); associate director of the President’s Commission on Pension Policy; and chief of staff to former U.S. Representative Thomas J. Downey.
Mary Jo Hoeksema, director of government affairs for the Population Association of America and Association of Population Centers, and co-director of The Census Project
Since January 2004, Mary Jo Hoeksema has been the Director of Government Affairs for the Population Association of America and Association of Population Centers. In addition to representing PAA and APC, Ms. Hoeksema has co-directed The Census Project since 2008. Prior to her position with PAA/APC, Ms. Hoeksema worked at the National Institutes of Health for approximately 10 years, as the Legislative Officer at the National Institute on Aging and as the Special Assistant to the Director of the NIH Office of Policy of Extramural Research Administration. Ms. Hoeksema served as a Legislative Assistant for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Legislative Correspondent for U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman. Ms. Hoeksema has a Master of Public Administration from the George Washington University and is a former Presidential Management Fellow.
Howard Fienberg, VP Advocacy for the Insights Association, and co-director of The Census Project
Howard is the Insights Association’s lobbyist for the marketing research and data analytics industry, focusing primarily on consumer privacy and data security, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), tort reform, and the funding and integrity of the decennial Census and the American Community Survey (ACS). He has also been co-director of the Census Project since early 2018.
Before the Insights Association, he worked in Congress as senior legislative staffer for then-Representatives Christopher Cox (CA-48) and Cliff Stearns (FL-06). He also worked more than four years with a science policy think tank, working to improve the understanding of scientific and social research and methodology among journalists and policymakers. Howard serves on the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics and is a past member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Government Relations Professionals. He has an MA International Relations from the University of Essex in England and a BA Political Studies from Trent University in Canada, and has obtained the Certified Association Executive (CAE), Professional Lobbying Certificate (PLC) and the Public Policy Certificate (PPC).
Howard’s father was a statistics professor and decades-long advisor to (and critic of) the Census Bureau, giving him deep Census roots.