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

Reflecting on 2012, Looking Ahead to 2013

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_2012a.jpgDavid 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.

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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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