Philanthropy cannot “fill the gap” or solve homelessness on its own. It needs the knowledge and support of partners and the opportunity to leverage government dollars, which philanthropic funding pales in comparison to. Funders Together’s advocacy and policy efforts work two-fold: 1) build relationships with government officials on behalf of philanthropy and 2) educate and inform members on various advocacy opportunities in which philanthropy is able to engage.
Advocacy on Behalf of our Members
Going into 2017, Funders Together was optimistic about the prospect of building relationships with the new federal administration. We were hopeful that the leaders of agencies, such as the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), would value the voice of philanthropy and take advantage of public-private partnerships to achieve our shared goals. After Dr. Ben Carson’s confirmation as HUD Secretary, Funders Together issued a statement expressing our desire to partner with HUD and support public-private partnerships.
On various occasions throughout 2017, Funders Together CEO, Amanda Andere, represented the voice of philanthropy and discussed best practices in ending homelessness and highlight the importance of philanthropic partners with various federal partners at HHS, FYSB, and HUD, including meeting with Secretary Carson. Funders Together also continued the important work of reaching out to key members of Congress to communicate our values and support our partners policy platforms.
In addition to working with the federal administration, Funders Together has been closely partnering with our national colleagues at the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Heartland Alliance, National Coalition for Homeless Vets, and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council to participate in national advocacy campaigns to protect the Affordable Care Act and increase federal funding for homelessness and affordable housing programs.
Providing Education and Engagement Opportunities around Advocacy and Policy
We believe philanthropy has a voice in addressing and advancing solutions to prevent and end it through advocacy. Providing funders with ample and timely resources to educate them on how to properly and effectively use this voice and support them in their advocacy and policy endeavors is an essential part of this work. These resources include:
- Funders Together Policy Priorities
- Priorities for the New Congress and Administration Messaging Guide
- Advocacy for Funders Resources page
In addition, we hosted 5 webinars that addressed a range of advocacy focused topics to engage funders around these efforts. These webinars include:
- Engaging Healthcare Partners to Advocate for Housing
- Making Progress on Ending Family Homelessness
- What Funders Need To Know- The Federal Budget
- Policy Update: Using Our Voice in the New Year
- Advocacy 101 for Funders
We also provided five blog posts which supplemented and complimented our advocacy resources and online programming. These blog posts included:
- How Will Tax Reform Affect Affordable Housing?
- Five Things Funders Should Know About the Federal Budget
- Why the Federal Budget Matters and What to Do About It
- Funders Together Statement on Confirmation of Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Advancing the Community Through Advocacy: Los Angeles & Proposition HHH
Keeping Our Members Abreast of Timely Policy Issues
The political landscape is an ever changing one and developments happen at a pace that can be hard to keep up with. In order to help decipher policy updates and learn about ways to engage in the work, we produce Advocacy and Policy Update email communications that highlight and condense in digestible context timely federal issues that affect homelessness efforts at the national, state, and local levels. These updates also compile resources to further aid in the understanding of these policy developments and what opportunities funders have to engage themselves and support their grantees to advocate. In 2017, we sent more than 10 Advocacy and Policy updates to our members throughout the year.
Advocacy and policy updates were also a main component at our two largest in-person annual events:
- 2017 Funders Forum. Held in conjunction with the National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness in Houston, TX, the Forum highlighted learnings from Foundations for Youth Success (FYS) and provided opportunities for participants to share directly with peers. The Forum also highlighted opportunities and challenges in working with the Administration and Congress. After a panel discussion, participants broke into groups to brainstorm ways that funders could play a role in their community and at the national level.
2017 Funders Institute. The 2017 Funders Institute was held in conjunction with the National Conference on Ending Homelessness in Washington, D.C., and followed a new format. Instead of the usual 1-day Institute, the event continued through the NAEH Conference. Each day featured sessions planned by FTEH with content and discussion aimed at funders. The Institute featured 2 sessions with an advocacy focus: one that engaged national partners including NAEH, CBPP, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, and Heartland Alliance who provided an update to members on current policy priorities, and another session highlighting examples of funder advocacy efforts including the California Community Foundation and United Way of Los Angeles.
|The Administration is aware of and beginning to understand the importance of public-private partnerships. In addition, leaders within key cabinet level positions have met with philanthropy on numerous occasions to start to build relationships and inform priorities and develop strategies. Members are also becoming increasingly involved in advocacy at both the local and national levels.|