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


One goal in our 2017-2020 Strategic Plan is to engage philanthropy to address racial inequity in homelessness, recognizing that unequal access to housing is the biggest inequity issue. By naming racial inequity in homelessness as a priority, Funders Together is committed to helping our members start a learning journey to understand the history and current structural issues that lead to racial inequities within homelessness. To meet this goal, Funders Together has started providing resources and space for discussion that will help us learn about racial inequity and work together to change our field. We’ve done this through:

Online Resources

We started this work in 2016 with an op-ed in the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness’s blog about why philanthropy needs to focus on racial inequity in ending homelessness. On our website, we launched a Racial Equity Toolkit, designed to gather resources ranging from definitions of structural racism and racial equity to research specifically on the presence and effect of racial inequity in homelessness.


In-Person Convenings

In 2017, we dedicated our annual Funders Institute to talking about racial inequity in homelessness. Glenn Harris, President of Race Forward, served as our keynote speaker and provided level-setting on racial. Participants also heard from Marc Dones and Jeff Olive from the Center for Social Innovation’s SPARC (Supporting Partnerships for Anti-Racist Communities) initiative about their research on the presence and effects of racial inequity in homelessness. Throughout the day, participants discussed with other funders about how to truly adopt a racial equity lens to their work and act.


Working in Partnership

We know that reducing racial inequity and ending systemic racism is not something we can do alone. That’s why Funders Together has been working in partnership with other agencies and organizations to convene national partners regularly for shared learning opportunities around racial inequity. These national partners are committed to these continued learning opportunities.


Presence in the Field

Partners in the field regularly call on Funders Together to attend, participant in, and present on racial equity at their convenings and conferences. These partners have ranged from local direct service organizations, such as Friendship Place in Washington, DC, to regional philanthropic working groups on racial equity, to national organizations, such as the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and Community Solutions.


Diving Deeper in Racial Equity

We recognized the importance of having a leadership group who was further along in their foundation's racial equity work to engage others as they explore the connection between racial inequities and homelessness. FTEH formed a Racial Equity Working Group with the intent that they will advise the Funders Together Board on policies and programing to advance racial equity as well as Funders Together staff on developing a learning agenda to become a more equitable organization. 


  Members are taking steps towards changing their grantmaking to with a racial equity lens. The capacity of the overall work to prevent and end homelessness is being built to move from conversation to action in addressing racial inequity. In addition, we’ve seen racial equity becoming a larger conversation at national homelessness convenings.


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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