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

Chicago In Person Convening Agenda

October 21st - 23rd, 2019 | Chicago, IL 

Day 1 | October 21st  

Location: Polk Bros. Foundation, 20 Kinzie St, Suite 1110, Chicago, IL 60654

12:00 – 1:00 

Optional Lunch  

1:00 – 2:30 

Welcome and Community Update 

2:30 – 2:45 

Welcome to Chicago 

2:45 – 3:00 


3:00 – 4:00 

Snapshot of Chicago 

Jennifer Miller Rehfeldt (Inspiration Corporation) and Carrie Thomas (Chicago Job Coalition) will provide some background on the intersection of employment and housing and what looks like in Chicago. 

4:00 – 4:30 

Context Setting for our Wednesday Session and After

Melissa and Tabitha will review where we are in our process l


Reflection and Closing 

6:00 -7:30

Group Dinner 

Taste 222 (confirmed) 

222 N Canal St, Chicago, IL 60606 

Contact: Kristina Fetter, [email protected]312.383.6616 

Day | October 22nd  

Location: Inspiration Corporation, 4554 N. Broadway, Suite 207, Chicago, IL 60640 

7:00 – 8:45 


Breakfast is available at the hotel. Just mention Funders Together to End Homelessness and you will be taken to our section and provided a special menu to purchase from.  

8:45 – 9:00 

Travel to Inspiration Corporation

Meet Amanda and/or Stephanie in the lobby for a rideshare over to Inspiration Corporation. 

9:00 – 9:30 

Reflection and Set Up for the day 

Reflect on the previous day and review some of the things we have seen in previous convenings about working cross-agencies 

9:30 – 10:30 


Working Across Systems: Data Matching Agreement 

Jennifer Miller Rehfeldt (Inspiration Corporation) and Carrie Thomas (Chicago Job Coalition) will provide a brief history of the process. They will discuss how it looks on the group.  

10:30 – 12:00 


Employment and Housing Strategies 

We will be exploring three strategies/programs that are being implemented in Chicago 

  • Inspiration Corporation Interview Projects 
  • Individual Placement and Support Model 
  • Connecting youth experiencing homelessness to employment: Opportunity Youth, Reconnection Hubs, and Paid Peer Mentors 
  • READI Chicago 

12:00 – 1:00 


1:00 – 2:30 


Advocacy in Chicago 

We will be delving into some of the advocacy and policy initiatives working to help individuals with criminal records gain employment and housing. We will also be discussing a new citywide initiative working to house the most marginalized in Chicago.   

2:30 – 2:45 


2:45 – 4:00 


Funders Role in Chicago 

What role has and will philanthropy play in the homelessness and employment sector? How is philanthropy centering and prioritizing people with lived experience? 

4:00 – 4:30 

Reflection and Close 

  • What would you like to learn more about?  
  • What are you taking back to your community?  
  • Logistics for Wednesday 


Dine Arounds 


Day | October 23rd  

Location:  Heartland Alliance, 208 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60604

7:00 – 8:45 


Breakfast is available at the hotel. Just mention Funders Together to End Homelessness and you will be taken to our section and provided a special menu to purchase from.  

8:45 – 9:00 

Walk over to Heartland Alliance

9:00 – 10:15 

Next Steps for the Foundation of Employment and Housing Community of Practice

10:15 – 10:30 


10:30 – 11:00 

Context and framing for time together  

Stephanie and Tabitha will discuss the purpose of our time together and do a round robin of introductions

11:00 – 11:15  

Deeper Introductions: Images 

11:15 – 12:00 

Case Study: Field Foundation's Heat Maps 

Hear an example of how one foundation has operationalized racial equity in their grantmaking work and to set the stage for deeper conversation in the afternoon. 


Mark Murray, Vice President of Programs and Administration, Field Foundation  

12:00 – 12:45 


12:45 - 1:30

Micro Talks: Strategies for Operationalizing Racial Equity

In this session, we will be exploring strategies and lessons learned around operationalizing racial equity in different parts of the system. We will be exploring the following topics: 

  • Operationalizing the use of disaggregated data in distributing resources: Carrie Thomas, Chicago Jobs Council
  • Process of operationalizing RE in your foundation strategy: Anna Lee, Chicago Community Trust
  • Partnering with other funders on racial equity: Caronina Grimble from Woods Fund
  • Operationalizing RE in policy and advocacy: Candace Moore
  • TRHT work: Jose Rico, Director, Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Greater Chicago

1:30 – 2:10 

Small Group Breakouts  

You will be able to connect and learn from each other and dive deeper on the topics from the micro talks 

2:10 – 2:20 

Full Group Q&A and Reflections with Speakers 

Opportunity for participants to ask questions from other micro talk speakers and participants 

2:20 - 2:45

Reflection and Close Out from Joint Convening

2:45 - 3:00


3:00 - 4:00

Next Steps for this Community of Practice and Closing


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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