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

Foundations for Racial Equity






We recognize that because of historical and current structural racism, people of color are dramatically overrepresented among those experiencing homelessness — comprising approximately 60% of the homeless population in America, compared to 39% of the general population. Research has also shown that Black Americans and Native Americans are the most likely to experience homelessness. 

Because structural and racial inequities are a root cause of homelessness, we must change the systems that perpetuate racial inequity. Doing so is not an easy or quick task, nor is it solely the role of philanthropy. But together, we can take steps to educate ourselves and use our influence locally and nationally to push for housing justice.  

In 2019, Funders Together launched the first cohort of Foundations for Racial Equity. We are excited to announce that we will convene a second cohort of Foundations for Racial Equity starting June 2021 to help funders move the needle toward greater racial equity in homelessness and housing.  Starting in June 2021, we will convene philanthropic leaders working at national and local levels to build relationships with other funders, learn together about systemic racism in housing and homelessness, and lead the field in creating a more equitable world. 

“I’ve loved being part of this first cohort. It was the right container for people to lean in, be vulnerable, and to challenge themselves.” --Katie Hong, Raikes Foundation 


Meet the 2021 Foundations for Racial Equity Cohort

We are excited to announce the participants in the second Foundations for Racial Equity cohort kicking off in June 2021!

Overview and FAQ

Community of Practice Goals 

Foundations for Racial Equity participants will:  

  • Build a strong peer network to learn, discuss, and act together to advance racial equity in ending homelessness.
  • Learn about how other funders are applying a racial equity lens to their housing and homelessness grantmaking and are operationalizing racial equity in their organizations.
  • Shift their own practices to invest their dollars, time, and influence in changing the homelessness and housing systems to make them more equitable and just.
  • Articulate a collective action to help build the philanthropic field working to advance racial equity in preventing and ending homelessness.

Who Should Participate? 

This community is open to funders interested in learning more about and working on advancing racial equity in housing and homelessness. Individual participants must meet the following criteria:  

  • Be a Funders Together member at the Basic or Full level. (If you are unsure of your membership status, please contact Tia Smith.)   
  • Work at a grantmaking organization that has started to address racial inequity. 
  • Be involved in and have influence over the grantmaking process for homelessness or housing at your organization.    
  • Want to learn how to apply a racial equity lens to your grantmaking and move your organization toward more racially equitable practices.   
  • Be able and willing to meet the participant expectations outlined below.     

Participant Expectations 

The success of this community of practice depends on the full commitment of each participant. While we understand that conflicts will always arise, we also hope participants will to commit to:  

  • The two-year timeline of this program   
  • Participating in an intake interview and other periodic check-in calls with facilitator.   
  • Attending monthly videoconference meetings and biannual virtual or in-person convenings. (Currently, all convenings are planned to be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If the current environment changes and it is safe to travel, we will confer with program participants before making decisions about holding in-person convenings.) 
  • Sharing and learning in real time with peer and colleagues, understanding that there is always knowledge you can share and knowledge you can receive.
  • Completing pre-requisites for the community of practice, which will include viewing a racial equity webinar(s) in Spring 2021 before the kick-off convening and/or reading through foundational knowledge we expect all community participants to have. 
  • Supporting the success of the community of practice by pushing yourself, deepening your racial justice and housing justice work, and contributing actions to help with field building.

You may also be asked to write blog posts, speak in Funders Together programming, or conduct calls with other stakeholders in between meetings. Our hope is that you will be willing to share your insights with the field to help advance this work.   

Timeline for FRE cohort 2

The second FRE cohort will launch in June 2021 and conclude in May 2023. Below is a working timeline for the second FRE cohort. We will do our best to update this and follow this timeline, but changes and additions may occur without notice.

October 2020 Announcement of FRE Cohort 2 
January 2021 Informational webinar about FRE Cohort 2 
February 2021 Application period opens
March 2021 Notification of acceptance to FRE Cohort 2 and confirmation of program participants
April-May 2021 Intake interviews, pre-work, and foundational learning for confirmed FRE participants
June 2021 Kick-off: 3-day virtual convening
Jul-Dec 2021 Monthly virtual Zoom calls (90 minutes each) 
Jan 2022 3-day Convening (TBD in person or virtual)
Feb-Jun 2022 Monthly virtual Zoom calls (90 minutes each) 
Jul 2022 3-day Convening (TBD in person or virtual)
Aug 2022 - Apr 2023 Monthly virtual Zoom calls (90 minutes each) 
May 2023 Closing 3-day convening (in person)


Cost of Participation 

The Community of practice is only open to Full and Basic members of Funders Together. If you are unsure of your membership status, please contact Tia Smith. If you are not currently a member of Funders Together, we invite you to join at the Full or Basic member to participate.   

For FULL MEMBERS with annual grantmaking budgets for housing and homelessness:  

  • Less than $1 million: $2,000
  • Over $1 million: $3,000

For BASIC MEMBERS with annual grantmaking budgets for housing and homelessness:  

  • Less than $1 million: $4,000   
  • Over $1 million: $6,000

This participation fee covers the costs for trainings and programming for two years and does not cover any travel or lodging if the group meets in-person. Fees allow up to two (2) individuals from the foundation to participate, though two individuals are not required to participate. 

Funders Together aims for this community of practice to be as inclusive as possible and does not want cost to be a barrier to participating. We may have limited scholarships available, though cannot guarantee meeting every need. Please let us know if there is assistance we can provide to help you fully participate in this community. Email or call Stephanie Chan, Director of Membership and Programs, at [email protected] or 617.245.0314 x105. 


“I am so grateful for all of the resources, conversations, and amazing facilitation of Foundations for Racial Equity. I heavily pulled on those resources and insights from our conversations and modeled conversations internally with staff and externally in my community during and after FRE.” --Adrienne Mundorf, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland


Additional Questions?

If you would like to learn more or have questions, please contact Stephanie Chan, Director of Membership and Programs, at [email protected] or 617.245.0314 x105.   


“This has been a game-changing, arguably life-changing experience. I am beyond grateful to everyone with a hand in creating/sustaining this experience.” -- FRE participant 


About the Inaugural Foundations for Racial Equity Cohort

The inaugural Foundations for Racial Equity cohort launched in January 2019 and will formally end in December 2020. You can read about our first convening in March 2019 on our blog, as well as read a reflection from that convening by a community of practice participant.

Our first Foundations for Racial Equity cohort was supported by the following partners and funders:


Funded by:


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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