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

2023 Funders Institute

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From July 17-19, 2023,
we gathered in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the National Conference on Ending Homelessness for our 2023 Funders Institute. More than 50 participants joined to discuss how we can lean into trust and embrace "loving accountability" in our pursuit of housing justice. 

Read our blog post recapping the event and reflections by participants.

Check out the speaker biographies for more details about the speakers.

Monday, July 17

9:30 – 10:50a ET

Understanding Accountability through Love & Disruption 

Our 2023 Funders Institute opened with reflections on the moment in which we find ourselves as housing justice funders. We described why we chose to lean into accountability and trust for the Funders Institute, identifying how these values show up in our specific roles: as grantmakers, advocates, members of the housing justice movement, and as individuals. We offered an understanding of accountability rooted in our values of “love and disruption” as a framework to inform subsequent sessions.  



Then, we heard keynote remarks from Temi F. Bennett, co-CEO of if, A Foundation for Radical Possibility. Temi showed us what it can look like for a foundation to hold itself accountable to its values of justice and liberation within its structure, organizational culture, grantmaking, and its role among philanthropic peers.  


  • Temi F. Bennett, Co-CEO, if, A Foundation for Radical Possibility  
  • Amanda Andere, CEO, Funders Together to End Homelessness 
  • Michael Durham, Director of Networks, Funders Together to End Homelessness 



11:00a – 12:00p ET

Embracing Accountability and Examining Trust in Grantmaking for Housing Justice  

Accountability is best understood within contexts of relationships. In this session, we explored the ways funders should be accountable to the communities we serve. Building off Temi’s keynote remarks in conversation with Amanda, we explored the role of power within the grantor-grantee relationship and how identity informs trustworthiness. Participants explored what it would look like for philanthropy to think of grantmaking as reparative – including considering reparations itself - acknowledging that its wealth was built on chattel slavery and stolen land.  


  • Temi F. Bennett, Co-CEO, if, A Foundation for Radical Possibility  
  • Tanya Edelin, Board Member, if, A Foundation for Radical Possibility  



2:00 – 3:15p ET

Advocating for Government Accountability  

In our afternoon panel, we named the continual political barriers that threaten progress made towards housing justice and explored accountability opportunities through public-private partnerships. Building off recent examples of federal and local governments’ regressive - and sometimes hypocritical - approaches to homelessness and the affordable housing crisis, we examined lessons that affect every community. We leaned into philanthropy’s roles as advocates in the movement for housing justice, from both a grantmaking perspective and direct engagement in advocacy, exploring promote government partners' accountability. Panelists concluded with concrete advocacy strategies through the lens of love and disruption, in preparation for the election season ahead.


  • Daniel del Pielago, Housing Director, Empower DC
  • Almas Sayeed, Vice President of Public Partnerships, Liberty Hill Foundation
  • Peggy Bailey, Vice President for Housing and Income Security, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities



5:00p ET

Funder Networking Reception

Funders gathered together at El Tamarindo for a Funders Networking Reception to continue the conversation.

Tuesday, July 18

9:00 – 10:30a ET

Shifting Power to People with Lived Expertise: Strategies for Philanthropy

“Centering people with lived experience” is meaningless without an analysis of power: how it’s built, shared, and ceded. Funders Together recently concluded its second Foundations for Racial Equity (FRE) community of practice, a two-year learning-to-action journey that culminated in the development of a resource naming strategies philanthropy can employ to build and shift power to people with lived experience. This session previewed insights from this resource, then focused on case consultations from participants' peers about their own housing justice work.  



Wednesday, July 19

8:30 – 9:30a ET

Becoming Pro-Black and Pro-Indigenous: Accountability to One Another 

Funders Together’s vision statement names our aspiration to become pro-Black and pro-Indigenous, a commitment that transcends more customary workplace values like diversity, equity, and inclusion. Concluding our Funders Institute in this final session, participants discussed what it means to be pro-Black and pro-Indigenous in our work for housing justice. We created space for an honest assessment of all our efforts as individuals to transform our institutions, bearing in mind our evolving understanding of loving accountability and paying attention to how our racial/ethnic identities affect our responsibilities. 



Showing 1 reaction

  • Jack Zhang
    published this page in Past Events 2023-08-15 16:25:46 -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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