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

Funders Launch Nonprofit to Help End Homelessness

“Funders Together to End Homelessness” Advances Proven Solutions to Homelessness in Communities across the U.S.

Boston, MA (April 7 , 2011) ― A group of major national and local philanthropies today announced the creation of a nonprofit organization to engage, educate, and support funders committed to ending homelessness in America. Funders Together to End Homelessness, started in 2004 as an affinity group of foundation and corporate funders, is now an independent organization of private philanthropies whose mission is to increase funders’ investments in solutions proven to end homelessness. The national organization’s Board of Directors includes representatives from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Fannie Mae, the Melville Charitable Trust, and seven other foundations active in ending homelessness in communities across the country.

“Foundations across America have helped develop programs that house and support thousands of vulnerable and struggling individuals and families,” said Bob Hohler, executive director of the Melville Charitable Trust and first chair of Funders Together. “Twenty years of philanthropic investment are beginning to yield amazing, cost-saving results. Despite the economy, cities like Denver, Columbus, and Chicago are reporting double digit reductions in homelessness. We know what’s working. Funders need to get together and help take it to scale.”

Funders Together promotes housing-based strategies that research has shown are effective in ending chronic homelessness as well as homelessness among veterans, youth, and families with children. Since 2004, Funders Together’s founders have invested more than $200 million in initiatives that embrace the “Housing First” approach, which focuses on providing homeless people with housing quickly and then providing supportive services as needed. These investments have demonstrated that social services to enhance individual and family well-being are more effective when people are stabilized in their own homes.

“Funders Together is invaluable to the work we do to reduce family homelessness because it helps us combine forces with other philanthropies to create a collective and catalytic voice,” said David Wertheimer, a deputy director with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and vice chair of the Funders Together Board of Directors. “Funders Together is a critical partner not just for philanthropies but also for government and non-profit organizations, helping all of us to think more clearly about important policy and advocacy issues and the ways we can maximize the impact of the resources all of us are investing.”

Funders Together is the only national network for funders working to end homelessness. Membership in Funders Together, an approved 501(c)(3) entity, is open to all funders currently engaged or interested in funding homelessness or affiliated programs. The benefits of joining include:

  • Ability to trade grantmaking accomplishments, lessons learned, and pressing questions with a network of experienced grantmakers engaged in this issue.
  • Opportunities to participate in special Funders Together educational events, including site visits, webinars, and briefings with national thought leaders and experts.
  • Access to experts on local, state, and national homelessness policy as well as useful resources and information regarding major developments and/or opportunities in the field.
  • Technical assistance services, including evaluation of current grantmaking efforts and how to improve them, help convening local or regional funders’ networks, communications strategy, connecting with policymakers, and more.

Funders Together to End Homelessness is supported by grants and in-kind donations from its board members, including representatives from:

  • William S. Abell Foundation (Chevy Chase, MD)
  • Butler Family Fund (Washington, DC)
  • Campion Foundation (Seattle, WA)
  • Fannie Mae (Washington, DC)
  • The Paul and Phyllis Fireman Foundation (Boston, MA)
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Seattle, WA)
  • Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Princeton, NJ)
  • Melville Charitable Trust (Boston, MA)
  • Osteopathic Heritage Foundations (Columbus, OH)
  • Polk Bros. Foundation (Chicago, IL)
  • Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland (Cleveland, OH)

For more information on Funders Together to End Homelessness, including information on how to join, please visit www.funderstogether.org or send an email to info@funderstogether.org.

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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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