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

Build Relationships to Support Both Political and Career Staff

Often, relationship-building within the administration is focused on political staff, with the expectation that this influence will advance favorable policies and practices. As we look to reimagine the homelessness and housing systems, philanthropy should also build strong partnerships with career staff as well. These individuals that align on values and priorities have knowledge and expertise of the most effective ways to push policies and programs through the right channels to implementation.  

Creating mutual support networks among both political and career staff and providing them with the backing to push bold policies generates conditions in which they can strategically advance racial and housing justice internally within agencies and departments. In addition, building this support can result in long-term sustainability of allies within the federal government that can ensure progress made is continued and institutionalized. 

Funders should meet with past and current career staff to build relationships and understand the most effective form of support networks and what mechanisms and resources are needed for the staff to gain support from leadership and follow through with implementation. 

To accomplish this, philanthropy can: 

  • Push to meet with top political and career leaders responsible for specific programs to start the relationship-building process and put it top of mind for leaders. 
  • Engage in “match-making” and connect career staff within federal agencies and departments to philanthropic staff for follow-up and implementation assistance. 
  • Form committees composed of leaders at comparable levels (i.e. political leaders meet with senior philanthropy staff, program officers meet with career and program staff, etc.) 
  • Construct program and policy committees where best practices and evidence can be candidly discussed and conversations around public-private partnerships can bud. 
  • Work with and provide funding to grantee partners to host civilian employees of federal agencies for a temporary period of time through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) mobility program. 


<< Back to Recommendations

>> Support an Equitable COVID-19 Response and Recovery**

>> Fund Advocacy and Organizing Efforts to Build and Advance Bold Policy**

>> Engage in Relational Public-Private Partnerships Rooted in Justice**

>> Model How to Advance Racial Equity and Invest in Disenfranchised Communities**

>> Facilitate Transparency in Engaging Community Voices on the Ground

>> Support Narrative and Messaging Efforts for Public Affairs Staff

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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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