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

2018 Funders Forum: Philanthropy's Role In Ending Family and Youth Homelessness


Passion. Understanding. Curiosity. Intellect. It was all happening in one room during the 2018 Funders Forum

Rosa_Benitez_at_podium_1.jpgSeventy individuals representing 34 different foundations and United Ways gathered in Los Angeles to explore philanthropy’s role in preventing and ending family and youth homelessness. Dynamic discussions and insightful speakers provided the ideal platform for funders to engage and create action plans around new ideas to take back to their communities.

After Funders Together Board Chair, Bill Pitkin, kicked off the convening, Rosa Benitez from the Weingart Foundation shared an overview of Funders Together Los Angeles and how the funder network has been working together to address homelessness in Los Angeles county.

Keynote speaker, Nisha Patel, Executive Director of the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty at the Urban Institute shared five strategies to dramatically increase mobility from poverty and led a discussion around how these strategies could impact our efforts to end homelessness.

After Nisha’s presentation and discussion, attendees were joined by representatives from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. During these discussions, funders had the opportunity to openly share what is working in their communities and where there are challenges. Officials left with a better understanding of how philanthropy best works in tandem with the public sector and federal goverment and how solutions and challenges differ from community to community.


In the afternoon, conversations flowed freely as funders gathered in small groups to discuss topics such as building public will, prevention, building a funders network, homelessness and education, and data around family and youth homelessness. Each small group was led by experts including funders, consultants, researchers, journalists, and collaborative leaders who kicked off the conversations with real-life examples of work being done around each topic. Through the conversations, participants took time to think through what it means to apply a racial equity lens to each area. The energy in the room as the participants connected was indicative of the passion and excitement with which they approach their work.




We were also joined by some of the leaders in the field to hear what’s happening at the national level. Megan Gibbard Kline, Director of A Way Home America; Matthew Doherty, Executive Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness; and Nan Roman, President & CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness all stopped by to highlight current events, where they see opportunities, and the importance of funders continuing to support best practices and systems change in their work to end homelessness.  A Way Home America announced the release of its Community Dashboard of data collected from communities who participated in the 100-Day Challenges. USICH is in the process of setting criteria and benchmarks for achieving the goal of ending youth homelessness.

Megan_Gibbard_at_podium_1.jpg   Matthew_Dohtery_at_podium_1.jpg   Nan_Roman_at_podium_1.jpg

The event concluded with high-spirits and a renewed outlook on the work to end and prevent youth and family homelessness, both as individual funders and as a network.

Over the next few months, we will be providing a series of in-depth summaries on themes and topics from these conversations and how it applies to your work. In the meantime, visit the Funder Forum past event page to view resources and key takeaways from the convening.

Want to connect with funders from around the country who are investing in innovative solutions to prevent and end homelessness? Save the date for our annual Funders Institute, July 23-25 in Washington, D.C. Stay tuned for more information!

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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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