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

Funders Toolkit - Systems Change

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Featured Systems Change Resources

While bringing together diverse stakeholders is a necessary step towards ending homelessness, it is not sufficient. Too often people convene to talk, learn best practices, and plan without making necessary changes in their own behavior. Too often they acknowledge that they know what should be done, but then fail to follow through because doing so may compromise immediate self-interests for...

Additional Systems Change Resources

This report from Community Solutions, funded by JPMorgan Chase, documents our journey from the end of the 100,000 Homes Campaign to the present— a journey that has seen seven US communities end veteran homelessness and three US communities end chronic homelessness, the first ever to do so. In all, the 77 communities participating in our Built for Zero initiative have connected...

This webinar highlighted the research and evaluation of homelessness prevention conducted by HealthSpark Foundation and Your Way Home Montgomery County, PA. We heard what prevention meant to the Foundation and why they chose to fund this project.

Panelists discussed how they went through the process of setting goals for this research, their approach in reaching out to community members and stakeholders...

Communities are working tirelessly to reach functional zero in chronic and veteran homelessness. What can philanthropy do to help take the last critical steps to reaching zero?

In December, we asked Beth Sandor from Community Solutions what we need to do differently to create large scale change in homelessness.  She outlined the tools and systems change work that the...

Community Solutions knows that in order to create large scale change, we need to think differently. In this webinar we heard what they learned from the 100,000 Homes and Zero:2016 Campaigns and, specifically, what didn't work.

So far, seven communities have reached functional zero in veteran homelessness and three in chronic homelessness. What does it take for communities to take that last...

The Meyer Memorial Trust works to dismantle barriers to equity in education, housing and the environment and to improve community conditions so that all Oregonians can reach their full potential.

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.


What started as as pilot program through funding from the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation, Secure Jobs thrived through a systems change approach facilitated through public-private partnerships.

The HealthSpark Foundation is a private, independent foundation providing support to organizations that serve the unmet health and/or human service needs of residents living in and organizations serving Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.


Imagine yourself a single parent without a job, determined to lift your young family out of the misery of homelessness and into the security of stable housing. You need to work – and you want to work – but your first priority, understandably, is finding a place for your family to live.


Each year, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty hosts a National Forum on the Human Right to Housing. This year’s Forum, held June 27, 2016, in Washington, D.C., focused on the intersection of criminal justice and housing policies and how they work together to perpetuate homelessness.  


Members of Foundations for Youth Success (FYS) gathered in Minneapolis April 7th and 8th to learn about the inspiring work happening in the state to end youth homelessness. In this second post in our series, Casey Trupin of the Raikes Foundation reflects on how the convening strengthened his understanding of philanthropy's role in preventing and ending...


Members of Foundations for Youth Success (FYS) gathered in Minneapolis April 7th and 8th to learn about the inspiring work happening in the state to end youth homelessness. Angela D'Orazio of Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland came away from the convening inspired and armed with key takeaways to apply to her foundation's work to...


After nearly 15 years, the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) is slated to start dispersing funds to states. How can philanthropy support and ensure the success of the program?

Philanthropy has an opportunity to guide the planning and implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in communities around the nation. So how do we get there?


What happens when cities start to declare homelessness as an "emergency"? Where do we go from here? Funders Together Board Member, David Wertheimer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation explores how these declarations can aid the fight to end and prevent homelessness. 


Funders Together Los Angeles hosted a panel discussion to examine traditional workforce models, the current role social enterprises play in employing LA’s homeless and formerly homeless communities, and new opportunities in the field.

The Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation is a family foundation based in Boston, Massachusetts. Created by Paul Fireman, former CEO of Reebok International, and his wife after Reebok became a public company in 1985, the foundation dedicates a major share of its funding resources to ending family homelessness in the Commonwealth and beyond.

What does systems change to end homelessness look like? What is the funder's role in creating effective systems?

What are the key takeaways?


As we've been learning about the many different crises that can catapult a family into homelessness, we've developed a version 2.0 response to family homelessness. What is it?

While bringing together diverse stakeholders is a necessary step towards ending homelessness, it is not sufficient. Thinking and acting systemically are required to end homelessness. This resource is not intended to be a stand-alone piece; rather, you should select slides that are most relevant to your presentation.


With support from Funders Together Houston, The Frees Foundation, and The Simmons Foundation, the Houston Police Department created a Homeless Outreach Team and documented their efforts in a documentary called The Shepherds in Blue.

We support Opening Doors, the Federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. 1. To end homelessness, start with a home. 2. Open pathways to meaningful and stable employment to prevent homelessness. 3. Prevent a new generation from becoming homeless.


Hint: stable housing, great schools, and strong communities are key pillars of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Pacific Northwest initiatives.


Exploring new opportunities to connect health services in housing for both individuals and families recovering from homelessness


Highlights from the 2014 gathering of public sector partners, key stakeholders, grantees, and experts to share and advance the collective effort to end chronic homelessness in Los Angeles.


Reflections on our 2014 Funders Institute

Valley of the Sun United Way is long-standing member of Funders Together to End Homelessness. Amy Schwabenlender, Vice President of Community Impact, leads the organization's Community Objective to End Hunger and Homelessness in Maricopa County and serves on a variety of community boards, including the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Continuum of Care Regional Committee on Homelessness. She discusses the...


USICH has been instrumental in our efforts to rethink the systems that have allowed homelessness to persist.

This webinar provides an introduction to the systems approach and identifies ways in which philanthropy can be a catalyst for change in local communities.   


Funders Together's new interactive map demonstrates the shortcomings of the TANF program in preventing family homelessness in the United States.


We are excited for 2014!  Here's a look at what we're doing and how you can plug in.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) payments aren't enough to cover a family's rent. See the numbers in your state.


With limited resources and increasing demand, we have to think about prevention. 

Families who experience homelessness often face significant difficulties, from providing an adequate education for their children, to something as basic as having enough to eat. Parents experiencing homelessness are frequently separated from their children, who may be sent into foster care and group homes, alone and without a stable, loving family for support.

The Toolkit for Advancing Systems Change records attempts and successes at influencing and changing systems by linking Toolkit users to informational pieces, tools, sample documents, and relevant websites

In 2001, the Corporation for Supportive Housing began exploring how to promote supportive housing for individuals returning to the community from incarceration. Supportive housing for the reentry population is designed for individuals with chronic health challenges who were homeless upon entry to prison or jail or at risk of homelessness upon release.

Trust’s three primary program areas: Housing, Health and Support, and IncomeMelville Charitable Trust spent a year examining and honing its grantmaking to prevent and end homelessness. Find out how they did it.

Chronic Homelessness: A Problem That is Inherently Solvable Video

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation hosted over 80 local stakeholders for the third annual Chronic Homelessness Initiative Convening at the California Science Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Collaborative systems change like a glacier:  It moves slowly, and its progress is sometimes hard to observe, but over time its enormous power completely and permanently transforms the landscape in ways that are dramatic and, at the outset, unimaginable.

At Funders Together, we are seeing an encouraging trend: thought leaders working to end homelessness are focusing not on the successes of individual programs, but rather on a systemic approach that addresses the underlying causes of homelessness. A systems approach integrates theory, analysis, stakeholder participation, systems mapping, and identification of high-leverage interventions to help communities uncover the dynamics that can...

In his forum, Rob Reich claims that, at their best, foundations foster pluralism and encourage discovery. But in my experience foundations can do much more.

Funders should consider these points in order to supporting the work of ending homelessness.

At this week’s NAEH 2013 Conference on Ending Family & Youth Homelessness, Funders Together hosted several events as part of our Networking Series: Where Catalytic Philanthropy Begins With Conversation. 

Many homeless programs were developed to respond to emergencies, providing a safety net for people in crisis.  The response from communities was compassionate and well meaning, but it was not a solution.

Homeless and housing programs are growing up. Thank goodness. 

What does an end to homelessness look like? The city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada is on the road to finding out. 

It isn’t every day that the work I do at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is called “audacious,” but when one of our partners described our collective efforts to end family homelessness in Washington State with precisely this word, I took it as a compliment.  

Many systems touch at-risk and homeless families: foster care, child welfare, crisis response, mental health services, and schools, to name a few–but no one system will solve family homelessness alone. 

I’m never quite sure what the reaction will be when I mention the concept of “public-private partnerships” to a colleague.

Changing the way we do business has the potential to improve outcomes for families who are homeless across each of our communities.  

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius gave the keynote address at the National Conference on Ending Homelessness.

When we first became involved with homelessness, we noticed that the national focus and most of the local work was on ending chronic homelessness.  While we applauded this effort, we wanted to see the 10-year community planning process include homeless families as well. 

Homelessness is a complex issue but it is not an unsolvable problem. It can be ended and philanthropy has a vital role to play.

In January 2012, Mayor Kasim Reed launched an initiative to dramatically reduce street homelessness in Atlanta. 

Last October, a group of 80 invited leaders from philanthropy, government, and the private sector gathered in Seattle to think about ways to fundamentally transform how we work with vulnerable children and their families.

A foundation's investment improved homeless services for all Chicago families.

We can end homelessness in America, but philanthropy must be willing to step forward and challenge the status quo.

Philanthropy needs to play a role in order for us to achieve the goals in Opening Doors.

Recently, a few of us from Funders Together to End Homelessness sat down with Rick Cohen, national correspondent for the Non-Profit Quarterly. The topic: Can philanthropy help to end homelessness? 

Opening Doors is a landmark in the history of fighting homelessness.