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

2019 Funders Institute

From July 22-24, 2019, we convened sixty funders in Washington, DC for our annual Funders Institute to learn about removing barriers to advance racial equity from the ground up. Held in conjunction with the National Conference on Ending Homelessness, program participants learned about what other funders are doing to advance racial equity, Native homelessness, how to engage in advocacy at the congressional level, and how to support grantees in doing racial equity work.

Resources related to specific conversations are linked to in the agenda below.

For information and resources on racial equity and homelessness, visit our Racial Equity Resource Page.

You can also learn more about what participants took away by reading the Funders Institute recap by Marci Lu, senior program officer at the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation. We'll soon be posting another reflection from Erik Houser, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the Campion Advocacy Fund.

Monday, July 22, 2019





Opening and Welcome



  • Amanda Andere, CEO, Funders Together to End Homelessness
  • Nan Roman, President and CEO, National Alliance to End Homelessness


How Is Philanthropy Advancing Racial Equity from the Ground Up?

We had a conversation with four foundation leaders to talk about what it means to advance racial equity from the ground up; how funders are centering people with lived expertise; and what funders are doing to support their grantees.


  • Angelique Kedem, Senior Associate, Race, Ethnic Equity and Inclusion, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Anita Patel, Leadership Programs Director, Bush Foundation
  • Yanique Redwood, President and CEO, Consumer Health Foundation
  • Leticia Peguero, Vice President of Programs, Nathan Cummings Foundation


 Implications for Grantmaking in Housing and Homelessness

After the morning conversation, participants had an opportunity to talk to peers about their own work and discuss implications for their funding in housing and homelessness.




National Conference on Ending Homelessness Opening Plenary


The Role of Culturally-Specific Organizations in Ending Homelessness


We started a larger conversation about the role of culturally-specific organizations in ending homelessness by learning about Native homelessness and the work of a Native-led and serving organization in Seattle, WA.




 Funder Roundtables

Participants broke into smaller groups to have deep conversations on the following topics:

  • Ways to influence and bring your board along in racial equity work
  • Native homelessness and the role of culturally-specific organizations in ending homelessness
  • How to make grantee site visits more equitable
  • Decolonizing your bookshelf – literature, art, resources, and trainers to expand your learning and understanding of race



Wrap Up and Adjourn


Networking Reception


Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Philanthropy as a Partner to Congress on Housing and Homelessness Issues


In this session, funders heard from congressional staffers about how they gather information and opinions that influence policy decisions. Funders had an opportunity to share what housing and homelessness solutions are working and how certain policies can help scale those solutions.


  • Beth Cooper, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
  • Jason Woolwine, Senate Committee on Transportation, Housing and Development Appropriations
  • Yasmin Rigney, Senator Harris (D-CA)
  • Trey Reffett, Senator Schatz (D-HI)



Wednesday, July 24, 2019


Building Grantees’ Capacity for Racial Equity


Two foundation leaders kicked off an intimate, tactical conversation about building grantees’ capacity to advance racial equity.


  • Aisha Alexander Young, Senior Director for Strategy and Equity, Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation
  • Hanh Le, Executive Director, Weissberg Foundation


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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