Amanda Andere reflects on her past year as Funders Together CEO and the vision for the future of the organization and the collective work to prevent and end homelessness.
In February, I marked a year as CEO of Funders Together. I must admit I have been trying to reflect on all that has happened this past year, but have been stuck in place and springing forward in to action at the same time. I think it is important as leaders in the movement for social change to acknowledge that the environment we are living in feels uncertain, at times painful, and yet has caused us to leap to action all while still feeling overwhelmed by what to do next. It is a strange dichotomy.
Funders Together Board and Staff at the October 2016 Strategic Planning Retreat at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Front Row L to R: Lauren Bennett, Bobbie Ibarra, Martha Toll, Alicia Lara, Katie Hong, Leslie Perkul, Amanda Andere, Katie McGonagle
Back Row L to R: Bill Pitkin, Fred Karnas, Janice Elliott, Debbie Resnick, Joe Weisbord, Jennifer Olney
For years, I worked leading direct service organizations whose mission was to prevent and end homelessness. The times I woke up and went to bed thinking, “This is purpose,” were the times we worked in different ways and in true partnership with philanthropy to get unstuck and push forward even in uncertainty. The space, resources, and capacity funders created for communities to do the work of not just serving people experiencing homelessness, but fundamentally changing the systems that brought people into it and kept them housing insecure was not only life-changing for families and individuals. It was important to demonstrate to communities that we could break free and move forward with change that was hard, but when based on research and evidence proved to be working towards our goal of ending homelessness. This past year Funders Together reflected and solidified our values and point of view that we know help philanthropy be a catalyst in communities for real change:
Expand philanthropy’s impact and influence to advance the movement to prevent and end homelessness.
Because of the work of Funders Together to End Homelessness, funders are essential change makers in a systems approach to prevent and end homelessness.
Funders Together to End Homelessness provides critical resources, learning and networking opportunities to our members to increase their knowledge, capacity, and effectiveness in their individual and collective work to prevent and end homelessness. We act as a vehicle for members to be part of a broader movement and bring greater financial and intellectual resources to the work to end homelessness.
Funders Together brings philanthropy together around best practices and innovation to ensure investments are maximized as funders in communities around the United States work towards solutions to prevent and end homelessness.
Funders Together to End Homelessness:
- Encourages and supports our members in risk taking and learning faster together.
- Inspires by connecting members doing critical work across the United States to each other as well as members with a local focus to national efforts.
- Highlights available opportunities for funders to be part of policy change and bring the collective philanthropic voice to advocacy at both the local and national level.
- Provides tailored learning that allows philanthropy to consider the role in best practices and emerging topics around preventing and ending homelessness.
Our Point of View
- We believe moving people into permanent housing through proven best practices is critical to ensuring homelessness is rare, brief, and one-time.
- It is essential that philanthropy work in a public-private partnership model identifying where funds can be leveraged, help to fill gaps, and spur innovation and collaboration.
- In order to effect lasting change, it is critical for communities to take a systems change approach to the work of preventing and ending homelessness.
- Recognizing policy change and prioritizing public resources is critical to our work and we believe funders should engage in and fund advocacy efforts at the local and national level.
- Racial and other inequities contribute to homelessness and housing insecurity, therefore, it is critical philanthropy work with partners to address structural inequalities.
- We encourage a grantee-centered approach and embedding lived experience in all aspects of our members’ work to prevent and end homelessness.
- We believe in embedding the voices of people with lived experience in all aspects of our members’ work to prevent and end homelessness.
I believe the challenge of getting unstuck and keeping our courage and hope alive is possible in the goals we set forth in our new strategic plan. But plans mean nothing if we don't spring forward to action rather than just reflecting on this year. I hope you’ll be inspired to take action with Funders Together as I highlight over the next few months what our new plan means for you as members, but more importantly for our collective movement work to fundamentally change the lives of people experiencing or at risk homelessness.