Passion. Understanding. Curiosity. Intellect. It was all happening in one room during the 2018 Funders Forum.
Seventy individuals representing 34 different foundations and United Ways gathered in Los Angeles to explore philanthropy’s role in preventing and ending family and youth homelessness. Dynamic discussions and insightful speakers provided the ideal platform for funders to engage and create action plans around new ideas to take back to their communities.
After Funders Together Board Chair, Bill Pitkin, kicked off the convening, Rosa Benitez from the Weingart Foundation shared an overview of Funders Together Los Angeles and how the funder network has been working together to address homelessness in Los Angeles county.
Keynote speaker, Nisha Patel, Executive Director of the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty at the Urban Institute shared five strategies to dramatically increase mobility from poverty and led a discussion around how these strategies could impact our efforts to end homelessness.
After Nisha’s presentation and discussion, attendees were joined by representatives from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. During these discussions, funders had the opportunity to openly share what is working in their communities and where there are challenges. Officials left with a better understanding of how philanthropy best works in tandem with the public sector and federal goverment and how solutions and challenges differ from community to community.
In the afternoon, conversations flowed freely as funders gathered in small groups to discuss topics such as building public will, prevention, building a funders network, homelessness and education, and data around family and youth homelessness. Each small group was led by experts including funders, consultants, researchers, journalists, and collaborative leaders who kicked off the conversations with real-life examples of work being done around each topic. Through the conversations, participants took time to think through what it means to apply a racial equity lens to each area. The energy in the room as the participants connected was indicative of the passion and excitement with which they approach their work.
We were also joined by some of the leaders in the field to hear what’s happening at the national level. Megan Gibbard Kline, Director of A Way Home America; Matthew Doherty, Executive Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness; and Nan Roman, President & CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness all stopped by to highlight current events, where they see opportunities, and the importance of funders continuing to support best practices and systems change in their work to end homelessness. A Way Home America announced the release of its Community Dashboard of data collected from communities who participated in the 100-Day Challenges. USICH is in the process of setting criteria and benchmarks for achieving the goal of ending youth homelessness.
The event concluded with high-spirits and a renewed outlook on the work to end and prevent youth and family homelessness, both as individual funders and as a network.
Over the next few months, we will be providing a series of in-depth summaries on themes and topics from these conversations and how it applies to your work. In the meantime, visit the Funder Forum past event page to view resources and key takeaways from the convening.