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

Employment Community of Practice

An essential part of ending homelessness is finding and maintaining a steady source of income. Employment can help meet this need and help people remain stably housed.

In 2018, Funders Together to End Homelessness launched its second Community of Practice, Foundations for Employment and Housing. The first, Foundations for Youth Success (FYS), was a two-year community focused on advancing philanthropy’s capacity to prevent and end youth homelessness. FYS brought together philanthropic leaders – both large national funders and those working at the community level – to identify and implement effective solutions for homeless youth. With the overwhelming success of FYS and at the request of members, Funders Together’s next Community of Practice will focus on the connection between employment and housing stability. We are excited to be partnering with Heartland Alliance as our content partner for this community and to share resources and learnings from their work. Participants will begin learning and networking in 2018 and over two years, will work together to create and support systems that provide employment to help prevent and end homelessness.

During this Community of Practice, funders will build strong relationships with other funders committed to this area of work and together learn about best practices and innovation around employment and its connection to housing stability. After creating a shared knowledge, participants will determine group or individual actions that will help move this work forward through policy and practice.

Learning Agenda

Participants will play a large role in helping to shape the agenda for this community. However, a shared knowledge base and understanding of key policies and solutions will be instrumental in the success of this community. To develop this shared knowledge we will cover:

  • Employment and Homelessness: Starting the Conversation
  • Evidence Based Models and Solutions
  • Policy and Advocacy
  • Provocative Questions and Ideas
  • Opportunities within the Homeless System
  • Opportunities within the Workforce System

How Participants Will Benefit

Through this community participants will develop relationships with peer funders and learn about essential models, solutions, and policies that will enable them to lead their organization and community in its work to connect efforts to end homelessness with employment and workforce programs. Participants will:

  • Better understand how philanthropy can support long-term solutions to homelessness through employment and workforce programs
  • Gain access to other funders, leading experts, and government leaders
  • Participate in site visits that will highlight work happening across the country
  • Share grantmaking strategies
  • Engage in public-private partnerships
  • Develop policy recommendations to take successful strategies and models to scale both locally and federally
  • Be part of a national initiative to make employment a tool for all communities in their work to end homelessness


Participants in this community will:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to the two-year timeline of this initiative 
  • Participate in an intake interview and help us construct a snapshot of your organization’s work
  • Attend monthly virtual meetings and biannual in-person convenings.  You may also be asked to write blog posts, conduct phone meetings with other funders and stakeholders, etc. in between meetings
  • Commit to sharing and learning in real time


Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Community of Practice?

Communities of Practice are groups of people who share a concern or passion about an issue and want to learn how to create effective solutions by interacting regularly with one another.

What is the timeline?

This community will launch in January 2018. Learning and networking will begin immediately through webinars, calls, and resources.

In 2018 and 2019, we will host four in-person convenings in locations that demonstrate innovative strategies and systems. Between convenings, we will continue to learn and share virtually. This draft timeline will give you an idea of the flow of the community. Specific topics will be identified by the community. 

Who should participate?

This community is open to ALL funders interested in learning more about the connection between housing stability and employment. Are you a funder focused on health or education? We know that housing stability plays an essential role in outcomes in these areas and countless others. Join funders investing directly in homelessness as well as those focused on innovation in health, employment, or education.

Funders must belong to a funding organization, which would include private, independent, family, corporate, and operating foundations, corporate giving programs, United Ways, and individual philanthropists dispersing more than $25,000 per year. Representatives must be senior staff members, defined as someone with authority over a grantmaking portfolio. 

Who's already joined?

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How much does it cost?

Participation fees are $3,500 per organization for dues paying members of Funders Together and $5,000 per organization for non-dues paying members or non-members.*

*This fee does not cover travel. Based on our previous community, Foundations for Youth Success, the funders who gained the most from their participation were present at all four in-person convenings. Travel costs for in-person convenings are estimated to be $1,500 - $2,000, per convening.

We believe that to make this community a success it is important to engage a diverse group of participants. Are you interested in helping create a diverse group by offering scholarships for travel and fees? If so, let us know!

For questions, contact Stephanie Chan at [email protected].



Showing 2 reactions

  • Jeremy Thayer
    followed this page 2020-05-27 02:17:31 -0400
  • Katie McGonagle
    published this page 2017-03-02 11:19:31 -0500

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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