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

CEO Reflections: Our Mission, Vision, and Values

Amanda Andere reflects on her past year as Funders Together CEO and the vision for the future of the organization and the collective work to prevent and end homelessness.

In February, I marked a year as CEO of Funders Together. I must admit I have been trying to reflect on all that has happened this past year, but have been stuck in place and springing forward in to action at the same time. I think it is important as leaders in the movement for social change to acknowledge that the environment we are living in feels uncertain, at times painful, and yet has caused us to leap to action all while still feeling overwhelmed by what to do next. It is a strange dichotomy.


Funders Together Board and Staff at the October 2016 Strategic Planning Retreat at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Front Row L to R: Lauren Bennett, Bobbie Ibarra, Martha Toll, Alicia Lara, Katie Hong, Leslie Perkul, Amanda Andere, Katie McGonagle
Back Row L to R: Bill Pitkin, Fred Karnas, Janice Elliott, Debbie Resnick, Joe Weisbord, Jennifer Olney

For years, I worked leading direct service organizations whose mission was to prevent and end homelessness. The times I woke up and went to bed thinking, “This is purpose,” were the times we worked in different ways and in true partnership with philanthropy to get unstuck and push forward even in uncertainty. The space, resources, and capacity funders created for communities to do the work of not just serving people experiencing homelessness, but fundamentally changing the systems that brought people into it and kept them housing insecure was not only life-changing for families and individuals. It was important to demonstrate to communities that we could break free and move forward with change that was hard, but when based on research and evidence proved to be working towards our goal of ending homelessness. This past year Funders Together reflected and solidified our values and point of view that we know help philanthropy be a catalyst in communities for real change: 

Our Mission

Expand philanthropy’s impact and influence to advance the movement to prevent and end homelessness.

Our Vision

Because of the work of Funders Together to End Homelessness, funders are essential change makers in a systems approach to prevent and end homelessness.

Our Value

Funders Together to End Homelessness provides critical resources, learning and networking opportunities to our members to increase their knowledge, capacity, and effectiveness in their individual and collective work to prevent and end homelessness. We act as a vehicle for members to be part of a broader movement and bring greater financial and intellectual resources to the work to end homelessness.

Funders Together brings philanthropy together around best practices and innovation to ensure investments are maximized as funders in communities around the United States work towards solutions to prevent and end homelessness.

Funders Together to End Homelessness:

  • Encourages and supports our members in risk taking and learning faster together.
  • Inspires by connecting members doing critical work across the United States to each other as well as members with a local focus to national efforts.
  • Highlights available opportunities for funders to be part of policy change and bring the collective philanthropic voice to advocacy at both the local and national level.
  • Provides tailored learning that allows philanthropy to consider the role in best practices and emerging topics around preventing and ending homelessness.

Our Point of View

  • We believe moving people into permanent housing through proven best practices is critical to ensuring homelessness is rare, brief, and one-time.
  • It is essential that philanthropy work in a public-private partnership model identifying where funds can be leveraged, help to fill gaps, and spur innovation and collaboration.
  • In order to effect lasting change, it is critical for communities to take a systems change approach to the work of preventing and ending homelessness.
  • Recognizing policy change and prioritizing public resources is critical to our work and we believe funders should engage in and fund advocacy efforts at the local and national level.  
  • Racial and other inequities contribute to homelessness and housing insecurity, therefore, it is critical philanthropy work with partners to address structural inequalities.
  • We encourage a grantee-centered approach and embedding lived experience in all aspects of our members’ work to prevent and end homelessness.
  • We believe in embedding the voices of people with lived experience in all aspects of our members’ work to prevent and end homelessness.

I believe the challenge of getting unstuck and keeping our courage and hope alive is possible in the goals we set forth in our new strategic plan. But plans mean nothing if we don't spring forward to action rather than just reflecting on this year. I hope you’ll be inspired to take action with Funders Together as I highlight over the next few months what our new plan means for you as members, but more importantly for our collective movement work to fundamentally change the lives of people experiencing or at risk homelessness.

If you want to see our strategic plan in action, be sure to join us at our annual Funders Institute, July 17-19, in conjunction with the National Conference on Ending Homelessness in Washington, D.C.! This year features a new format with added content and opportunities to learn and connect with other funders! 

In addition to our traditional one-day Institute on Monday, funder-specific content planned by Funders Together will continue throughout the National Conference on Ending Homelessness on Tuesday and Wednesday. Each day of the conference will feature workshops tailored exclusively to issues and topics important to philanthropy and the work to prevent and end homelessness. Visit our Funders Institute page to register or learn more. 

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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