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

2014 Funders Institute

A look back at our 2nd Annual Funders Institute


Ending Homelessness Through Fearless Philanthropy: 
Bold Action, Lasting Impact

Funders Together to End Homelessness’s 2nd Annual Funders Institute, held in conjunction with the National Alliance to End Homelessness’s National Conference on Ending Homelessness, was a dynamic and multi-faceted convening that brought together homelessness funders, partners, and advocates. A day-long event, the theme was bold philanthropy - how funders can affect long-term systems change at the local and national levels. This theme was examined through engaging speakers, team-oriented community projects, and interactive TableTalks that explored the different avenues for philanthropy to make the most impact. ​ 

We had a tremendous lineup of speakers at the event, including Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council; Nan Roman, President & CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness; Laura Zeilinger, Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness; Michael McConnell, Funders Together San Diego; T. Sanders, who shared her lived experience of homelessness; and Kollin Min, Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Event facilitators from foundations across the U.S. guided participants through discussions on funders’ roles in relationship building, advocacy, and strategic investments. Team-oriented activities and discussions encouraged funders and other key stakeholders to take an active and innovative role in their respective communities. ​ 

Cecilia Muñoz highlighted the importance of private public partnerships. She reaffirmed the Obama Administration’s commitment to ending homelessness, and talked about existing policies, such as Opening Doors and the President’s proposed budget, which includes funding for programs relating to homelessness. 

One of the most moving parts of the day was a talk given by T. Sanders on her lived experience of homelessness. “Homelessness can happen to anyone. It is important to recognize the dignity and humanity of each person,” she encouraged. Many in the audience were touched by her poignant description of her experiences, and the everyday realities that the homeless and those at risk of homelessness face. The importance of empathy was echoed in Kollin Min’s FAB (Funders Acting Boldly) Talk. “All of our efforts to end homelessness must be rooted in the underlying condition of empathy,” he urged, in what was both an informative and engaging talk on how funders can have a real impact in their communities. 

We look forward to next year’s Funders Institute, and is in the process of collecting participant survey responses to formally evaluate impact and to continue to create convenings that are relevant, informative, and engaging for funders. 

Are you interested in being involved in next year's Funders Institute?  Contact us for more information.


Thanks to our sponsors

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Photos from the day


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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