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

2020 Funders Forum

Event co-sponsor: 

Thank you to our Networking and Learning sponsor!


On February 19, 2020, we convened sixty funders in Oakland, CA for our annual Funders Forum to learn about philanthropy's evolving role in catalyzing solutions to ending homelessness. Held in conjunction with the National Alliance to End Homelessness’s Solutions for Individual Homeless Adults Conference, convening participants heard about policy changes happening at the national and local levels, how different groups are thinking about narrative change, the latest evaluation findings about rapid rehousing and diversion efforts, and much more.

Resources related to specific conversations are linked below.



Funders Forum Opening Remarks

  • Sarah FrankfurthDirector of Regional Programs and Partnerships, Northern California Grantmakers


Funders Together Commitment to Racial Equity

Amanda Andere shared information about about Funders Together's commitment to racial equity and what it means for our work and our members. 



State of the Movement and the Need for a Unified Agenda

We set the stage by discussing what's happening in the homelessness policy world, why we need to develop a unified agenda if we want to be successful at ending homelessness, and why it's critical to build racial and housing justice into everything we do. 



Morning Break


Narrative Change for What? Defining Clear Goals and Strategies

Many funders have been interested in learning about narrative change. Before learning how to do narrative change work, it's first critical to know what we want to change and how narrative change can be a tactic for meeting that goal. We heard from speakers who have been doing this work in different ways to learn about narrative change research, grassroots organizing, and what their end goals are. 






National Alliance to End Homelessness opening plenary


Funders Forum resumes

We heard from Cynthia Nagendra, Executive Director, UCSF Benioff Initiative on Homelessness and Housing on what the Iniative is and how they hope to contribute to the field. 



Rapid Rehousing and Diversion Lessons from the Puget Sound Family Homelessness Initiative

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been funding an initiative to end family homelessness in the Puget Sound region of Washington State for the past decade. The initiative is being implemented by Building Changes, a Seattle-based intermediary, and is the subject of an extensive longitudinal evaluation being conducted by national research firm Westat. This presentation will focus on recent key findings from the evaluation regarding families receiving rapid re-housing and diversion assistance and their housing trajectories over 18 months following service receipt. The presentation will describe the varying trajectories families take and the role that factors such as employment, income, and family background (such as past evictions, felonies, and current domestic violence) play in shaping these outcomes. These findings are among the first to thoroughly analyze rapid re-housing and diversion outcomes over such an extended period of time and offer an understanding of what factors either help families maintain their housing or serve as barriers to stabilization. After sharing key learnings, the panel led a discussion about how other funders can use this research to advocate for evidence-based practices in their own communities and how we can use this data to build the case for interventions that work.


  • Kollin Min, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Annie Pennucci, Director of Learning, Measurement, and Evaluation, Building Changes
  • Debra Rog, Vice President, Westat



Diving Deeper in Roundtable Conversations | 3:00-4:30 pm

We had time for small group conversations so that participants could go deeper on topics covered throughout the day. These roundtable conversations included:

  • Rapid Rehousing and Diversion Lessons from the Puget Sound Family Homelessness Initiative - led by Kollin Min, Annie Pennucci, and Debra Rog
  • What Do We Know about Narrative Change? Research from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative - led by Robert Avruch, Advocacy Associate, Housing Affordability, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
  • Building Public and Political Will Through Organizing - led by Gloria Bruce, Executive Director, East Bay Housing Organizations, and Karen Smulevitz and Stevi Dawson (organizers)
  • Taking Action Through a Rapid Response Fund: How Can You Join? - led by Katie Hong, Director of Special Initiatives, Raikes Foundation
    • If you are interested in learning more about the Rapid Response Fund, please email Lauren Bennett, Communications Director, Funders Together to End Homelessness

Bay Area Funders Meeting on Homelessness | 3:00-5:00 pm

We had a space dedicated for those who were interseted in learning more about housing and homelessness in the Bay area. Bay area funders came together to learn about the different efforts across the Bay to address housing and homelessness.


Networking Reception 

Showing 1 reaction

  • Stephanie Chan
    published this page in Past Events 2020-02-26 14:46:18 -0500

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

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or email.