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:
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 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.|