Before we bid farewell to 2012, all of us at Funders Together wanted to pause for a moment to share with you the highlights of what has been an extraordinarily productive year of activity for our small but mighty staff and our dedicated board.
Before we bid farewell to 2012, all of us at Funders Together wanted to pause for a moment to share with you the highlights of what has been an extraordinarily productive year of activity for our small but mighty staff and our dedicated board. Hang on to the sleigh for a moment as we go dashing through the snow of the past year’s accomplishments:
- Funders Together grew its membership to 145 members in 26 states. We are creating learning communities and networking opportunities for funders to connect around issues, such as youth and veterans homelessness, and on how to create effective local funders’ networks.
- We have helped launch two highly successful regional funders’ networks in Los Angeles and Houston, and more on the way. We are working with a number of cities to help them develop funders’ networks and to focus on systems change and creating community solutions.
- We held face-to-face convenings with funders in 18 states and counting. We will continue to create opportunities for funders to come together in communities across the nation.
- We received the National Private Sector Award from the National Alliance to End Homelessness for our work with funders. We were honored to be recognized for our work by one of our most important advocacy partners.
- Our members have leveraged more than $100 million in federal dollars. We continue to demonstrate the ways in which relatively small amounts of private money can leverage huge government investment – and can help direct federal or state money toward effective solutions to homelessness.
- We developed a Grantmakers’ Toolkit on Ending Homelessness. The materials help funders learn how private sector grants can leverage and multiply the effects of the federal HEARTH Act to create permanent solutions in local communities.
- We revamped our website, making it more user-friendly and relevant to our audience. We’re making better use of social media, including our web presence, blogging, tweeting and – of course – Facebook.
- We have built strong working relationships with key federal agencies and have been able to discuss policy issues and develop funding crucial to the successful prevention and ending of homelessness. Advocacy is essential if we are to really solve the issues that affect our communities. While foundations are excluded from lobbying, we still have many advocacy tools at our disposal at the local and national levels.
And this was just one year’s worth of work! Look for more to come in 2013 – more toolkits, more presence in communities across the country, more visible and vocal advocacy. Most importantly, more opportunities to connect with all of you and the exciting efforts funders are supporting in every corner of the nation – from our largest cities to our most isolated rural areas.
Working together is the only way we will ever end homelessness in America. May all of our work in the year ahead bring us closer to our shared goal.
David Wertheimer is the Deputy Director of the Pacific Northwest Initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, as well as the Board Chair of Funders Together to End Homelessness. Find him at @DavidWSeattle.