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

Funders Together's Engagement in Policy and Mobilization of Philanthropy

Funders Together’s Engagement in Policy 

We have created the Policy Engagement and Philanthropic Mobilization Decision Filter below using our Strategic Framework’s internal strategy screen as a starting point. We have also modeled many of these questions on the United Philanthropy Forum’s Policy Decision Filter. As we engage with policy and advocacy efforts that uphold priorities in this framework, we are committed to asking ourselves the following questions: 

Assessing the Issue 

  • What level of impact might the policy event have on the overall work for housing justice? What impact might this policy event have on local jurisdictions?  
  • What are the implications on immediate racial and housing justice work? How is the issue and/or any planned response connected to long-term transformation?  
  • What is the urgency around this issue?  
  • What are people with lived experience saying or telling the field about this issue? 

Assessing FTEH’s Advocacy 

  • Does this action move us closer to racial and housing justice? If so, how? 
  • What are the unintended consequences we should be aware of? 
  • Who are the right partners in this work, and what is our unique value add to support them in this action? 
  • Are we articulating all the actions philanthropy should participate in to have the most impact locally, statewide, and nationally? 


Mobilizing Philanthropy 

Funders Together has often mobilized philanthropy to use their voice as advocates by engaging in dialogue with federal partners, submitting public comments, and writing op-eds. As critical policy events arise, Funders Together also believes that we have a role and responsibility to consider how we mobilize philanthropic resources. Funders Together has maintained a no-solicitation policy as an organization to create environments where funders can prioritize shared learning and network-building. However, when the result of urgent policy events is a substantial impact on the overall work for housing justice across the country, Funders Together will consider how we can mobilize philanthropic resources, including making explicit asks to philanthropy or setting up key partners to do so.  

Assessing Whether FTEH Will Mobilize Philanthropy 

  • How aligned or connected is this policy event to Funders Together’s vision and mission?  
  • What is the connection between this issue and the work of our members? 
  • What are possible risks and benefits associated with mobilizing philanthropy around this policy event for 1) people we serve, 2) individual foundations, and 3) FTEH?  
  • What, if any, are the questions or issues Funders Together would need to resolve before mobilizing philanthropy?  

Assessing How FTEH Will Mobilize Philanthropy 

  • Who are national partners engaged in this issue and best positioned to lead? Are they able to coordinate a response in ways that are just and in partnership with others, including with people of color with lived expertise?  
  • Does our partner have a clear plan and ask to respond to the issue? What is the specific ask to philanthropy? 
  • How will we make it clear to the FTEH Network that we are working to mobilize philanthropic resources in response to this policy event?  
  • Are there specific members in the FTEH Network we want to approach?  


Examples of Mobilizing Philanthropy 

In January 2024, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that they would hear the case of Johnson v. Grants Pass, the most significant case about the rights of homelessness people in decades. At its core, this case will decide whether cities can punish people for things like sleeping outside with a pillow or blanket, even when there are no safe shelter options.  

Our partner, the National Homelessness Law Center (NHLC), created a response plan that included timely direct action tied to SCOTUS’ hearing of the case. Their response also showed a commitment to working with other national partners, including people with lived expertise, and an understanding of how immediate actions would tie into longer-term work for housing justice.  

Funders Together and NHLC held a funder briefing for philanthropy to hear about the potential impact for this case and mobilize philanthropic resources. Through this process, Funders Together learned several key lessons, including how a clear plan and ask is vital, as well as the importance of being explicit when an ask is made. We will take these lessons with us moving forward in times of funder mobilization. 

**As of the publishing of this framework, the current decision filter and questions are used by Funders Together staff in an internal decision-making process. When appropriate, the Funders Together board, made of experts in philanthropy and housing justice and people with lived experience, are included in the decision-making process to determine the best path forward. This process will evolve as Funders Together continues to strive to live into its values of power-shifting to those who are most impacted.   


Showing 1 reaction

  • Lauren Bennett
    published this page in Policy Framework 2024-05-08 09:24:08 -0400

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

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or email.