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

2023 Funders Forum

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On February 28, 2023, we gathered in Oakland, California in conjunction with the National Conference on Ending Homelessness for our 2023 Funders Forum. More than 60 participants joined to discuss the urgency of building coalitions, engaging in principled struggle, and prioritizing housing justice values.

Check back soon for our blog post recapping the event and what participants reflected on from the 2023 Funders Forum

Check out the speaker biographies for more details about the speakers, moderators, and table hosts.

9:00 am PT
Welcome to the 2023 Funders Forum

Funders Together CEO, Amanda Andere kicked off the Funders Forum with words of welcome and grounding in our vision for housing justice. 


Keynote: Building a Vision for Housing Justice

In this keynote, Laura Raymond, Director of ACT LA, shared how housing justice organizers are envisioning the future of the work for housing justice. She shared how movement building and housing justice vision is aligned across the state and how the contexts of their respective communities shape the nuances of their work. She also created an umbrella and provided context for deeper conversation about their transformational goals and strategies, such as de-commodifying housing, and how they share their power with philanthropy.





Fireside Chat: What True Philanthropic Partnership and Accountability Look Like in Housing Justice Work

After the keynote, we hosted a fireside chat between our keynote speaker and a funder from the Fund for an Inclusive California, a philanthropic effort to advance racial and economic equity by building the power of communities of color. This discussion explored the balance of power between philanthropy and movement leaders, how philanthropy is holding themselves accountable in this partnership, and lessons that funders can take back to their communities.


  • Laura Raymond, Director, ACT LA
  • Jennifer Martinez, Policy Director, Housing Affordability, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
  • Andrea Evans, Funders Together Consultant and Advisor (moderator)


 11:00 am PT
Stronger Together: Building Alignment to Advance Housing Justice

A vision for housing justice will remain a vision without alignment of values, knowledge, and actions. If we want our vision for housing justice to be real, we must transform how we work together, engage in principled struggle, and care for one another. Doing so requires forging deeper relationships and building coalitions that disrupt the status quo. In this conversation, we lifted up housing justice work at the national and local levels with concrete ways philanthropy can fund, convene, and advocate for housing justice. Nationally, we highlighted the work of the National Coalition for Housing Justice, its impact on the housing and homelessness field, and the Coalition’s housing justice policy agenda. Locally, we shared the work of Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness and the Housing Justice Fund they recently launched. 


  • Amanda Andere, CEO, Funders Together to End Homelessness (she/her) 
  • Alexander Rey Perez, Advocate, National Coalition for Housing Justice member (Divine, They, He, King)
  • Ann Oliva, CEO, National Alliance to End Homelessness (she/her) 
  • Emily Krisciunas, Director, Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness (she/her)



1:00 pm PT
What It Means to Engage in Principled Struggle

In light of recent direct action around McPherson Square encampment raids, Funders Together staff engaged participants in what it looks like to practice principled struggle, especially with those we thought were in alignment with around our housing justice vision.


  • Amanda Andere, CEO, Funders Together
  • Lauren Bennett, Director of Communications & Policy, Funders Together
  • Stephanie Chan, Chief Strategy Officer, Funders Together


1:45 pm PT
Concurrent Afternoon Programming
Concurrent Program A: Deep Dives to Explore Narrative Change, Health x Homelessness, Coalition Building, and Program Design & Evaluation

As stated in Funders Together’s new strategic framework, true justice and liberation cannot be achieved until we confront and hold accountable the reality that the current ways philanthropy operates need to be dismantled, then reoriented and reimagined towards a more liberated way of resourcing communities. Doing so will require a nuanced understand of the difference and connection between equity and justice and how these concepts apply concretely to our funding strategies and priorities.  

We began the fishbowl conversation between field experts to uncover themes and questions related to four topics our funder network has expressed interest in learning more about. After we had this opportunity to jumpstart our thinking, participants had an opportunity to choose one of four tables to explore a topic in greater nuance.

Table 1: Exploring the Crossroads of Policy and Advocacy with Narrative Change

Several funders have shared common questions about connecting their current grantmaking and advocacy work with narrative change, measuring the success of narrative change work, and what is needed across the field. This table offered a practical and concrete space for funders to raise questions, test ideas, and receive feedback from other funders working on narrative change and ending homelessness. 

Table Hosts:

  • Sarah Armour-Jones, Deputy Director, Housing Narrative Lab
  • Unai Montes-Irueste, Narrative and Strategic Communications Director, Housing California 


Table 2: A Deeper Dive into Philanthropy’s Role in Coalition Building  

Using questions surfaced over the course of the day, this conversation answered practical questions about philanthropy’s role in supporting coalitions and navigating the internal and external tensions between movements and philanthropic institutions. Participants at this table learned about the Fund for an Inclusive California and its impact on its philanthropic partners.   

Table Hosts:

  • Tessa Callejo, Consultant, Fund for an Inclusive California, Common Counsel Foundation


Table 3: Structuring the Design & Evaluation of Programs to Lead with Equity and Justice 

How do you structure the work to overcome the resistance of institutions to cede power to those most impacted? And, how can we as funders better understand evaluation is a core piece of strategy and design it so that we are measuring how successful we are at advancing housing justice and building power? This table conversation focused on out a few themes and experiences related to these questions in short vignettes before table participants decided how they want to deepen this conversation. 

Table hosts:

  • Bill Block, Block Leavitt Foundation
  • Matt Morton, Executive Director of CoLab, Constellation Fund
  • Maddox Guerilla 


Table 4: Health, Homelessness, and Housing Justice 

What would it look like to bring “health funders” and “housing funders” in closer partnership toward a shared set of goals? How do we think about messaging, narrative, program design, and measuring success at the intersection of health, homelessness, and housing? This roundtable, led by the California Health Care Foundation, provided an opportunity for participants to bring ideas, questions, and challenges about how health and homelessness to weave together themes from the Funders Forum to coalition building, narrative, program design, and policy.

Table hosts:

  • Dalma Diaz, Health Equity Fellow, Homelessness and Health Care, California Health Care Foundation 


Concurrent Program B: Regional Funder Network Learning Circle

Funders Together supports several place-based funder networks and collaboratives that bridge national advocacy and best practices with local efforts to end homelessness. This funder network convening provided an opportunity for participants to learn with other regional network leaders, discuss what it would look like to mobilize regional networks behind housing justice values, and identify the type of support FTEH can provide to live into this vision.   

Showing 1 reaction

  • Lauren Bennett
    published this page in Past Events 2023-04-06 16:53:13 -0400

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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