A national network of funders supporting strategic, innovative, and effective solutions to homelessness

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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:

In addition, we hosted 5 webinars that addressed a range of advocacy focused topics to engage funders around these efforts. These webinars include:

We also provided five blog posts which supplemented and complimented our advocacy resources and online programming. These blog posts included:

 

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.

 

 


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We joined Funders Together because we believe in the power of philanthropy to play a major role in ending homelessness, and we know we have much to learn from funders across the country.

-Christine Marge, Director of Housing and Financial Stability at United Way of Greater Los Angeles

I am thankful for the local partnerships here in the Pacific Northwest that we’ve been able to create and nurture thanks to the work of Funders Together. Having so many of the right players at the table makes our conversations – and all of our efforts – all the richer and more effective.

-David Wertheimer, Deputy Director at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty, but the symptom. The cause may lie deeper in our failure to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities, in a lack of education and training, in a lack of medical care and housing, in a lack of decent communities in which to live and bring up their children.

-President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964 State of the Union Address

Funders Together has given me a platform to engage the other funders in my community. Our local funding community has improved greatly to support housing first models and align of resources towards ending homelessness.

-Leslie Strnisha, Vice President at Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland

Our family foundation convenes local funders and key community stakeholders around strategies to end homelessness in Houston. Funders Together members have been invaluable mentors to us in this effort, traveling to our community to share their expertise and examples of best practices from around the nation.

-Nancy Frees Fountain, Managing Director at The Frees Foundation


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