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

2023 Funders Forum Speakers

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Last updated: 02/21/2023

Alexander Rey Perez

Advocate/Lived Experience Expert
National Coalition for Housing Justice


Alexander is a global citizen who creates tangible solutions for world issues and brings universal consciousness to every space. He's brought his light to city halls, policy meetings, schools, community organizations, virtual spaces, intentional ceremonies, drop-in shelters, billboards, and so much more!

Alexander has won awards for his work by organizations such as The Ali Forney Center, The Center for Anti-Violence Education, And others. Most importantly he believes in the power of creating a loving world woven by conscious creation through being a divine expression of love. 

Andrea Evans



Andrea Evans has over 25 years experience leading high impact policy change efforts and litigation relating to human rights, civil rights, and homelessness. She has led complex, multi-sector strategic planning processes, including Tipping Point's Chronic Homelessness Initiative, a five year, $100 million effort to reduce the number of people experiencing chronic homelessness in San Francisco. Currently, Andrea works as a consultant to the California Homelessness & Housing Policy Funders Network, a Funders Together statewide group of philanthropic organizations seeking to develop an aligned policy agenda. Andrea also currently serves on San Francisco’s Local Homeless Coordinating Board.

Ann Oliva

Chief Executive Officer
National Alliance to End Homelessness


Ann Oliva is CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, a public education, advocacy, and capacity building organization dedicated to ending homelessness in the United States. A career veteran of homelessness and housing policy, she is recognized as one of the foremost experts on homelessness in the nation. In her role, Ms. Oliva works closely with members of Congress and the Administration, as well as with officials and advocates at the state and local levels. As part of that role, she also collaborates closely with Alliance partners to educate the public on the real nature of homelessness and its solutions, and to advance known best practices within the homeless services sector.

Ms. Oliva previously served as Vice President for Housing Policy for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Corporation for Supportive Housing. Her distinguished career is also marked by a decade of federal service at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

During her 10-year tenure at HUD, Ms. Oliva successfully designed and implemented a variety of initiatives and programs, including homelessness prevention, supportive housing, and rapid re-housing programs, as well as a demonstration to end youth homelessness.

In 2015, Ms. Oliva was named one of the 50 Most Influential Leaders in the department’s first 50 years, and was honored with the True Colors Fund’s True Leader Award. She was a finalist for a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (Sammie) in management excellence in 2011, and was part of an inter-agency team that won a Sammie for the team’s work on reducing Veteran homelessness in 2012.

Bill Block

Block-Leavitt Foundation


Bill Block has served as Director of the Committee to End Homelessness (the public/private partnership convened to address homelessness in Seattle/King County), Regional Administrator for HUD Region X, and Special Advisor on Homelessness to the Secretary of HUD.  In his prior life as a lawyer, his civic engagements included Chair of the Seattle Housing Authority and President of AIDS Housing of Washington (now Building Changes).  Since leaving the Obama Administration he has focused on funding rigorous evaluations of homeless interventions and program structures that promote real advances in the power and influence of people with lived expertise.  He is a member of Funders Together and has been a significant investor in the Trust Youth initiative in NYC.  His favorite aphorism is “The plural of anecdote is not data”.

Dalma Diaz

Health Equity Fellow, Homelessness
California Health Care Foundation


Dalma Diaz is a health equity fellow at the California Health Care Foundation, where she works with the Advancing People-Centered Care team to improve care delivery and outcomes for Californians experiencing homelessness, particularly those with complex health needs who have not been well served by the status quo.

Prior to joining CHCF, Dalma was the strategic initiatives manager for the Home For Good initiative launched by United Way of Greater LA in 2010 to end homelessness in Los Angeles County. Most recently, her work at United Way focused on supporting cross-sector collaboration at the intersection of health and homelessness. She began her career focused on the education sector and later made homelessness her central interest. Dalma received a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA and a master’s degree in urban education policy from Brown University.

Emily Krisciunas

Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness


Emily Krisciunas is the inaugural director of Chicago Funders Together to End Homelessness (CFTEH), joining the team in May 2020. Prior to her role with CFTEH, Emily served as Deputy Policy Director in the Chicago Mayor’s Office where she worked for two administrations on issues related to housing and homelessness and served on the Board of Directors for Chicago’s Continuum of Care. She began her work around housing access as a grant writer at Ignite, an agency that supports young people experiencing homelessness in Chicago. She holds a BA in English and Sociology from the University of Notre Dame and an MPA from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy.

Jennifer Martinez

Policy Director, Housing Affordability
Chan Zuckerburg Initiative


As the Director of Housing Affordability at The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Jennifer’s passion lies in the development and action of grassroots leadership to advocate for racial, economic, and housing justice. An organizer since 2001, Jennifer’s work has focused on housing justice, immigrant rights, restorative justice and quality education. 

Jennifer has a BA from Stanford University and an MA and PhD from the University of Nottingham, England. Her graduate research focused on social movement strategies in the struggle for housing and land rights in Venezuela and South Africa, and in 2011, her PhD won the British International Studies Association thesis of the year award. Jennifer was born into a Mexican-Irish family in Southern California, and now calls the San Francisco Bay Area home.

Joe Lucero

Executive Administrator and Interim Director
Common Counsel Foundation


Joe Lucero, joined Common Counsel Foundation in April 2021, first as a consultant in organizational development, research, and communications. He is now the Executive Administrator, conducting program development and resource mobilization for Fund for An Inclusive California, as well as communications and management facilitation across the Foundation.

He shares more than thirty years of experience in the public interest sector emphasizing research, program development, communications, and fund development. Prior to joining Common Counsel Foundation, he was the Senior Director of Communications & Research for Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy. He has also served as Executive Director of the Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Interim Director of the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant Rights, and as Associate Director of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council in Washington DC. He has served on several national and regional Boards of Directors, including Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund (now Lambda Legal) and the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center (now the San Francisco Community Health Center). Joe holds a BA in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Laura Raymond

Alliance for Community Transit-Los Angeles (ACT-LA)


Laura Raymond has served as ACT-LA’s Director since 2015; she directs the coalition’s strategic plans, budget, and staff. Over the last two decades, she has led a wide range of campaigns, civil and human rights projects and has built and coordinated numerous social justice coalitions. Immediately prior to ACT-LA, she spent 6 years managing advocacy campaigns with the Center for Constitutional Rights. She holds an MA in Leadership and Management and a BA in Community Studies.

Maddox Guerilla

Senior Consultant of Cash Transfers
Point Source Youth


Maddox is a social impact visionary from the concrete jungle of NYC, who believes in the idea of Protopia. Protopia is the idea that every day we can actively work towards the world we want to see. Maddox co-founded and led NYC's YOUTH ACTION BOARD(YAB) creating a sustainable infrastructure for youth experiencing homelessness in NYC. He has supported NYC in: Raising the age for youth in shelter from 21 to 24, creating a permanent YAB seat in NYC'S Continuum of Care, co writing and leading the Youth Homelessness Demonstration project for NYC's $15 million plan to end youth homelessness and has championed Direct cash transfers( giving young people experiencing homelessness unconditional cash) as an intervention to end youth homelessness as well as partnering with the LGBTQ community to create host homes opportunities in ballroom. With over 7 years of experience in social impact, creative advocacy and innovation At Point Source Youth, Maddox is a member of the Partnerships team, connecting communities to PSY's Direct Cash Plus pilots.

Marcy Thompson

Director of Policy Initiatives
United States Interagency Council on Homelessness


Marcy has extensive experience developing and implementing federal policy to prevent and end homelessness. As a senior advisor at HUD, she worked collaboratively across the federal government to develop policy and legislation that sought to codify national best practices related to chronic homelessness, coordinated entry, rapid rehousing, and Housing First. She went on to lead a national technical assistance team that provided equity-centered technical assistance and capacity-building support to communities and organizations around the country to help strengthen and improve their homelessness response efforts. She received her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Matt Morton

Executive Director of Constellation Lab (CoLab)
The Constellation Fund


Dr. Matt Morton is an applied researcher with significant experience in working with communities, government, and philanthropy to create and use evidence for action. Matt is the Executive Director of the Constellation Lab (CoLab), which aims to reduce poverty by producing actionable data through high-quality, longitudinal research on programs, practices, and their effects. CoLab is a new philanthropic partnership of the Constellation Fund and the Foundation for Educational Research and Development (FERD). In Matt's previous role as Research Fellow at Chapin Hall, he led the most extensive national research initiative to-date on youth homelessness and developed youth and family homelessness prevention models and a multisite longitudinal evaluation of cash transfer and support interventions for young adults. Matt held previous positions at the World Bank as an Economist and Social Protection Specialist, the U.S. government as a Special Advisor on youth and family policy, in philanthropy, and with youth-serving nonprofits.

Michelle Schneidermann

Director, People Center Care
California Health Care Foundation


Michelle Schneidermann, MD, is director of CHCF’s People-Centered Care team, which works to ensure that Californians — particularly those enrolled in Medi-Cal — receive responsive, comprehensive, and coordinated care that supports their health and well-being. She leads CHCF’s efforts in maternity care, end-of-life care, and the care of populations with complex behavioral health and medical conditions.

Prior to joining CHCF, Michelle served as a medical director of Alameda Alliance for Health, where she provided clinical support and oversight with a focus on care coordination and special projects. In this role, she led efforts to build and expand programs such as the Health Homes Program and Whole Person Care within the Alliance.

Before that, Michelle spent more than 14 years as a clinical professor and physician leader at UCSF. In addition to being a primary care doctor and hospitalist at San Francisco General, she was medical director of the Inpatient High User Care Management Program and founding Medical Director of the San Francisco Medical Respite and Sobering Center.

She currently serves as a commissioner for Alameda County Health Care for the Homeless, a program of the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. Michelle received her medical doctorate from the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University.

Sarah Armour-Jones

Deputy Director
Housing Narrative Lab


Sarah Armour-Jones (she/her) joined the Housing Narrative Lab in January 2023 and focuses on strategic partnerships, communications, and organizational growth in her role. Prior to joining the Lab, Sarah served as Director of Communications and Media Strategy at the Melville Charitable Trust where she developed a new grantmaking strategy, elevated the Trust’s communications, and helped launch the Housing Narrative Lab. In all her roles, from philanthropic consultant to Editorial Assistant at the British Film Institute, Sarah has focused on the power of stories to create a more just world for everyone. Sarah lives in Vermont with her family and assorted pets.

Unai Montes-Irueste

Narrative and Strategic Communications Director
Housing California


Unai Montes-Irueste (he/him/his) joined Housing California as the organization’s first Narrative and Strategic Communications Director in April 2022. Charged with effectuating a vision to deliver bold policy wins through narrative change, Unai develops, guides, and implements intersectional strategies to advance housing justice at scale. After contributing to an unprecedented national, anti-racist Housing Justice Toolkit, and forming and convening a first-of-its-kind Health & Housing Narrative Shift Task Force with state and local government officials, organized labor leaders, nonprofit advocates, service providers, and Californians with lived experience, he is now focused on the multiyear engagement of target audiences in bellwether regions.

Unai previously served as the Communications Director for the California State Assembly’s Chair for the Budget Subcommittee on State Administration, Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, Director of Communications for United Ways of California, Communications Director for the Committee of Interns and Residents, (CIR) and Senior Communication Specialist for Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 721 and Local 2015/United Long-Term Care Workers (ULTCW).

Born to undocumented parents who were deported, he spent his childhood in Mexico and adolescence in US immigration offices, After double majoring in Government, (Political Science) and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College, Unai worked as a bilingual, public school teacher for five years in Southern California, before returning to New England for an MBA from Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.

Veronica Garribay

Co-Executive Director
Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability 


Veronica Garibay is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. Based in the agriculturally rich San Joaquin and East Coachella Valleys Leadership Counsel works alongside the most impacted communities to advocate for sound policy and eradicate injustice to secure equal access to opportunity regardless of wealth, race, income, and place. Areas of focus include land use, natural resources, environmental justice, municipal services, civil rights and government transparency.  Prior to launching Leadership Counsel, Veronica was the Community Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Community Equity Initiative (CEI), a program of California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA).

Veronica led CRLA’s advocacy efforts in the San Joaquin Valley to ensure equitable land use planning in rural communities, access to basic services such as safe and affordable drinking water and waste water service, and access to public transit. Veronica leads Leadership Counsel’s SB 375 regional and state-wide advocacy efforts. Her work has also focused on developing and maintaining meaningful community engagement in land use and investment decisions at the state, regional and local levels. Veronica holds a B.A in Law and Society and Psychology from UC Santa Barbara and a Master of Public Administration from California State University, Fresno.


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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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