Funders Together Resources
As part of an ongoing effort to provide support and programming on advocacy, we've compiled resources that can aid you in starting and continuing the conversation in your work to prevent and end homelessness.
Funders can and should be advocates for policies and funding streams that can end and prevent homelessness. Understand the legal restrictions on private foundations’ advocacy efforts with this resource.
While there are numerous policies that may affect homelessness services and prevention, we stand behind these key policy principles.
From Our Members
Campion Foundation - Advocacy Spectrum and Tools
Published by Council on Foundations, this report explains “lobbying” versus networking and includes a step-by-step guide to contacting policymakers.
This report from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy discusses best practices and the impact of philanthropic dollars devoted to advocacy.
Funders in Action: An Example of Funder Advocacy
Texas education grantmakers knew that they needed to act when the state government cut $5.4 billion from the education budget in 2011. Funders began seeing the impacts quickly; requests for grants increased dramatically from organizations that used to receive support from public schools and public-private partnerships were in danger of falling apart. In response, funders formed the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium (TEGAC) to push back against the massive spending cuts. Because the group was focused on the budget -- and did not get into political ideologies or education reform debates -- it was able to convene and mobilize an unprecedented number of grantmakers throughout Texas. TEGAC also invested $100,000 in research to help shape the public narrative. The programs affected by the budget cuts were the same programs that studies proved to be effective! In May 2013, the Texas legislature reinstated $4 billion out of the $5.4 billion in education funds. Although TEGAC did not take credit for the restoration of funding, the mobilization of funders and the broad support for advocacy had a tangible statewide impact. Read more about this story here.
Please contact Amanda Andere if you would like to discuss advocacy issues further.
One goal in our Strategic Plan is to engage philanthropy to address racial inequity in homelessness, recognizing that unequal access to housing is the biggest inequity issue. As part of ongoing effort to provide support and programming on equity, we've compiled resources that can aid you in starting and continuing the conversation around this topic in your work to prevent and end homelessness. We will be updating this page with timely resources as they become available, so be sure to check back often!
If you are a funder interested in taking a deeper dive into exploring racial inequities in housing and the systemic issues that perpetuate racism, as well as how to apply a racial equity lens into your grantmaking, consider joining our newest community of practice, Foundations for Racial Equity! From 2019-2020, we will convene philanthropic leaders working at national and local levels to build relationships with other funders, learn together about systemic racism in housing and homelessness, and lead the field in creating a more equitable world. Learn more on our Foundations for Racial Equity page!
You can also check out our Programming page for a list of learning opportunities focused on addressing racial equity.
Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities (SPARC) Phase One Study Findings
New research from SPARC documents that people of color are dramatically more likely than White people to experience homelessness in the US. The message is clear: to end homelessness, we must confront structural racism. The report offers strategies for organizational leaders, researchers, policymakers, and community members.
Putting Racism on the Table
In 2016, WRAG launched Putting Racism on the Table, a learning series for philanthropy. The series, from January - June 2016, convened philanthropic CEOs and trustees to learn from experts on the many aspects of racism, including structural racism, white privilege, implicit bias, mass incarceration, and the racial mosaic of this country.
Resources from the series are available on the WRAG website.
Why We Need to Talk About Racism and Family Homelessness
This Powerpoint from the Center for Social Innovation provides important background and data on the connection between racism and homelessness.
Homelessness, Racism, and Social Justice
Jeff Olivet, Center for Social Innovation, examines the connection between homelessness, racism, and social justice in this Huffington Post blog post.
Center for Social Innovation SPARC Initiative
SPARC is an initiative of the Center for Social Innovation in partnership with The Bassuk Center on Homeless and Vulnerable Children & Youth. With support from the Oak Foundation and others, the SPARC team is launching a multi-city initiative to conduct qualitative and quantitative research, hold public discussions and forums, train providers and activists, and collaborate with leadership in systems of housing, health care, education, and criminal justice.
Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity
The Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity provides publications, resources, and programming that can aid as you look to advance racial equity through your foundation. The goal of the initiative is to "increase the amount and effectiveness of resources aimed at combating institutional and structural racism in communities through capacity building, education, and convening of grantmakers and grantseekers."
Putting Grantees at the Center of Philanthropy
This series from the Stanford Social Innovation Review, in partnership with Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, focuses on grantee inclusion and provides perspective from both the philanthropic and grantee view on why and how making grantees the center of philanthropy can advance initiatives and help them succeed.
Integrating Racial Equity in Foundations, Governance, Operations, and Program Strategy
This paper from the Consumer Health Foundation provides an excellent overview of framework for organizing racial equity efforts within philanthropy.
Kathleen Enright, President and CEO of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations explains why having conversations around racial equity is critical and will require us to be vulnerable if philanthropy is to succeed in addressing race and making positive changes in their communities.
The Road to Achieving Equity: Findings and Lessons from a Field Scan of Foundations That Are Embracing Equity as a Primary Focus
This report from Putnam-Consulting Group and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides a look at some of the efforts leading foundations are making, as well as the challenges they face. Based on interviews with 30 foundation leaders, this report explores the ways in which foundations are applying principles of equity within their own operations - from grantmaking, to investments, to human resources.
Race Equity and Inclusion Action Guide
One way to achieve social change in an organization is to incorporate race equity and inclusion at every stage of work. The seven steps in this guide, from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, provide a clear framework for undertaking this important work. This tool adds to the resources already created by partners who have been working in the field.
Unite4Equity is a Change Philanthropy campaign focused on promoting equity in philanthropy as an investment of social and financial resources in policies, practices, and actions that produce equitable access, power, and outcomes for all communities.
Bolder grantmaking: Integrating Racial Equity Impact Assessments in requests for proposals
This blog from the Consumer Health Foundation focuses on the Foundation's revisiting of grantmaking protocols and a new practice to ensure that its investments are truly impacting communities of color.
At Funders Together to End Homelessness, it is the mission of our members to end and prevent homelessness through systemic change and proven solutions, like housing.
In 2016, San Francisco media outlets coordinated their coverage to shine a light on homelessness in the city. We applaud this effort and hope to help shed a light, not only in San Francisco but nationally, on the real issue: access to safe and affordable housing.
Ideas to consider when thinking about homelessness across the country
Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) assists people who experiencing homelessness chronically and may also suffer from illnesses, disabilities, mental health issues, or substance use disorders. It provides long-term rental assistance and supportive services.
Rapid re-housing assists a wide arrange of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The goal of this model is to help people obtain housing quickly and stay housed. It provides short-term rental assistance along with supportive services, such as rent and move-in assistance and case management.
- Permanent Supportive Housing has a long-term housing retention rate of up to 98% in one study.
- Rapid re-housing helps people exit homelessness quickly and remain houses – various studies have found between 75 to 91% remain housed a year after being rapidly re-housed.
- One study found an average cost savings on emergency services (i.e. shelters) of $31,545 per person housed in a Housing First program over the course of two years. (Source)
2. Collaborations: Funders working together as a network is an effective and efficient way to enact change.
3. Partnership: Philanthropy, as well as the government, cannot do it alone. Private dollars can push and leverage public funding, and building a strong public-private partnership throughout the community can influence and effectively create systems change.
In San Diego, the group of funders was able to leverage $240,000 into $10 million of public funding to support the operational expense of to create permanent supportive and convert existing transitional housing.
- The Funders Together to End Homelessness – Los Angeles chapter has more than thirty funder members who meet quarterly to learn about and discuss new solutions to homelessness in LA County. Many of these members are also part of Los Angeles County’s Home For Good Funders Collaborative, led by the local United Way. Between 2012 and 2015 the Funders Collaborative aligned over $650 million in public and philanthropic resources toward permanent solutions to homelessness in Los Angeles County.
- In Houston, Funders Together members are part of The Way Home, a collaborative made up of private-public partnerships utilizing community-wide strategies to end and prevent homelessness. The 2016 Point-In-Time Count showed The Way Home continuing a five-year trend in reducing homelessness - a 57% decrease since 2011.
- In King County, The Raikes Foundation spearheaded a collaboration of private and public funders who are focused on preventing and ending youth homelessness. Through this collaboration, almost $5 million in private-public funds have been dedicated to the cause.
- In the counties surrounding Seattle, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works with government and nonprofit partners to make homelessness rare, brief and one-time. Since its conception in 2005, this partnership, All Home, has been instrumental in creating 8,337 units of permanent housing of which 85% of the people housed were stabilized there for almost two years.
4. People first: At Funders Together, we stress the importance of being "people first", therefore we say "people/person/family/youth experiencing homelessness" instead of "the homeless" or "homeless person". We believe that experiencing homelessness should not define a person and encourage you to also put people first when talking about this topic.
Resources on solutions that work to end and prevent homelessness
- National Alliance to End Homelessness San Francisco Homeless Project
- Solutions that Work to End Homelessness
- Improving Housing Outcome with Rapid Re-Housing
- Housing Based Solutions Can End Homelessness
- Family Homelessness 2.0
- Shifting the Focus from Criminalization to Housing
- National Alliance to End Homelessness Housing First Fact Sheet
- Video: Ending Family Homelessness - From Family Homeless Programs to a Crisis Resolution System
- Core Components of Rapid Re-Housing
- Editorial: To End Homelessness, California Must Begin With Housing
Resources on general homelessness information
Funders can have a strong influence in the community. Use your voice and influence to spread key messages around ending homelessness through out the online community as well!
Our Messaging Guide for Funders provides sample tweets and Facebook posts that you can share on your social media pages. You can edit to fit your foundation’s voice and provide links to articles, case studies, research papers that support how housing-based solutions work to end homelessness.
We are happy to connect with you with experts that can help inform your articles who are all ready and willing to speak with you on any of the above thoughts. Our Communications & Public Affairs Manager, Lauren Bennett, can be reached at 617-245-0314 x107 or you can call their offices directly:
- Amanda Andere, Funders Together CEO: 703-966-5726 (cell)
- Bill Pitkin, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation: 818-851-3721 (Communications Manager: Julia Friedman)
- Kollin Min, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: 206-770-1645 (Communications Lead: Anne Martens)
- Janice Elliott, Melville Charitable Trust: 203-901-1065 x108 (Communications Manager: Bonnie Rosenbaum)
Funders Together Overview
Funders Together to End Homelessness is a national network of 200 foundations and United Ways dedicated to ending and preventing all forms of homelessness by supporting strategic, innovative, and effective solutions. Funders Together works to expand philanthropy’s impact and influence to advance the movement to prevent and end homelessness. Membership is open to all funders currently engaged or interested in funding homelessness or related areas. Funders Together, an approved 501(c)(3), is a virtually based in organization. For more information, visit www.FundersTogether.org.
If you have questions about a resource or where to find additional information, or would like to schedule time to talk with our CEO or a Funders Together member, please contact Lauren Bennett, Communications & Public Affairs Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.245.0314 x107. You may also reach out to our available experts directly at the numbers listed above.
Another budget cycle is upon us, and philanthropy's involvement in understanding the budget process and how to be participate in the budget debate is key to ensuring programs that work to prevent and end homelessness remain adequately funded. Steve Berg, Vice President for Programs and Policy at the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and Martha Toll, Executive Director at the Butler Family Fund dive into why the budget matters and what to do about it.
In May 2017, Funders Together hosted our Advocacy Update webinar to bring philanthropy up to speed on news around the FY18 budget and other policy issues that affect housing and homelessness issues. With this webinar, the learning continues by putting knowledge to action.Read more
Funders Together CEO, Amanda Andere, reflects on the mission and work of philanthropy in this post-election phase and what it means to move forward as a collective group as we all work to prevent and end homelessness under a new administration.Read more
Why is Funders Together to End Homelessness addressing racial inequity? Our CEO, Amanda Andere, explains how philanthropy's involvement in focusing on the structural issues that cause racial inequity can create a path to truly making sure homelessness is rare, brief, and one-time.Read more
On June 23rd, FTEH Board Member David Wertheimer spoke in Orlando, FL, at The Road Home Breakfast gathering of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness. Still reeling from the shock of the deadly attack against the LGBTQ community at the Pulse nightclub that took 49 young lives and wounded 53 others, the city’s officials nonetheless made the decision to move ahead with The Road Home event, which became yet one more step in the long and painful journey to a community’s recovery.Read more