An excerpt of Funders Together Executive Director Anne Miskey’s welcoming remarks at the Inaugural Funders Institute.
The following blog post is an excerpt of Funders Together Executive Director Anne Miskey’s welcoming remarks at the Inaugural Funders Institute on the morning of July 22nd, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
As I look out into the room this morning I am reminded of the words of a famous philosopher who said that the 3 most important qualities of human beings were wisdom, compassion and courage.
Again, looking around the room, I think it very obvious that we have a tremendous amount of wisdom. We have the wisdom of those who do research, who look at data and outcomes and we have the wisdom of those of you working, day to day, in your communities to end homelessness. I look out and I see funders and their partners from the Pacific Northwest who are doing incredible things around family and youth homelessness. I look at the folks from Houston, Texas, who have done the same. We must take care to use wisdom – the combined wisdom of people working in communities across the country, and in individuals and organizations who study what works – and what doesn’t.
If we are going to move forward we must continue to use wisdom and knowledge, research and data, best practices and evidence in everything we do. But equally as important is that we share that wisdom with one another, and this is what Funders Together to End Homelessness is all about–connecting funders’ knowledge. We believe philanthropy plays a vital role – and that by sharing our collective wisdom, we will make a difference.
But it takes more than wisdom–it also takes compassion. Compassion is something those of us in our sector do not lack; yet sometimes our compassion can be misguided. We’ve all seen examples of things that were well-intentioned, and done out of kindness and compassion, but that were ultimately not helpful. We need to remember that compassion must always be tempered with both justice and with wisdom. Again, it is by seeing the examples of others, and by sharing what we do and what we know, that we can demonstrate that true compassion is not something which simply makes us feel good for today, but which provides justice and opportunity for people.
I have no doubt that we have wisdom, and we certainly have compassion, but I also believe that this will only get us so far if we do not have a third quality: that of courage. The work we do is not easy – each of us faces obstacles on a day-to-day basis, whether it be government cutbacks and sequestration, local politics and policies and public opinion, or lack of data lack of resources. It is a tough job we have set out to do. But we must continue, we must show courage in the face of the obstacles, and we must keep moving forward. The good news is that we don’t have to do this alone. We can connect with one another–not just to share ideas and stories and research, but to offer support.
Funders Together is here to help connect you and to support you in your work as funders, as grantmakers, as convenors – to connect the wisdom in philanthropy – and the wisdom of our partners. Through that connection, we can harness the potential that is out there, that exists in philanthropy, and we can truly empower change. We can share our wisdom, share examples of how to show true compassion that is tempered with justice and wisdom and we can be courageous. With wisdom, compassion and courage, we can end homelessness–together.
As Executive Director of Funders Together, Anne brings years of expertise in both the corporate and not-for-profit sector. She is passionate about promoting the philanthropic community’s catalytic role in ending homelessness, working with government to create public-private partnerships, and advocating for funding and policies which end, rather than manage, homelessness. Find her at @FTEHAM.