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

Funders Together To End Homelessness Announces Changes to Board of Directors

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s David Wertheimer Appointed Chair

Boston, MA (July 13, 2011)―Funders Together to End Homelessness, the national affinity group of philanthropies engaged in solving homelessness, today announced personnel changes to its board of directors, including changes in leadership and the election of two new board members.

At its annual meeting today, the board of directors of Funders Together elected David Wertheimer, MSW, MDiv, deputy director of Pacific Northwest initiatives for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as its new chair. The Gates Foundation, based in Seattle, is working to dramatically reduce the number of homeless families in Washington state. Prior to joining Gates, Wertheimer, who leads the Foundation’s efforts to end family homelessness, worked as a consultant, promoting integration of human service systems targeting persons struggling with homelessness, mental illness, addictions, criminal justice system involvement and HIV/AIDS.

Wertheimer, who previously served as vice chair of the Funders Together to End Homelessness board, was elected to replace Bob Hohler, executive director of the Melville Charitable Trust, who passed away in June.

Funders Together Board Member Leslie Strnisha, senior program director at the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, was elected to replace Wertheimer as vice chair of the board. The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland (Ohio)―which views affordable housing as vital to supporting families, building stable neighborhoods, and reducing poverty―has invested more than $9 million to enhance the availability of affordable housing for low-income adults and families. Strnisha also is an adjunct instructor at Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. Prior to joining the Sisters of Charity Foundation, she served in various capacities for the Cleveland office of the Enterprise Foundation.

In addition to changes in leadership, the Funders Together board elected two new members.

Ann Woodward, chief operating officer of the Melville Charitable Trust, was elected to a three-year term. Located in Boston, the Melville Charitable Trust concentrates its efforts on finding and fighting the causes of homelessness. This includes the support of service and housing programs in Connecticut that can serve as models throughout the country and the funding of educational, research and advocacy initiatives in Connecticut and on a national level. Prior to joining the Trust, Woodward served as Mercy Housing’s vice president for national development consulting and director of the organization’s National Supportive Housing Initiative.

Also elected to a three-year term by the Funders Together board was Nancy Frees Fountain, managing director of The Frees Foundation. Based in Houston, The Frees Foundation’s mission is to support efforts that assist vulnerable and underserved populations achieve self-sufficiency, which includes a focus on supportive housing and homelessness. A former nurse specializing in cardiac and intensive care, Fountain is very active in the Houston community, and currently manages the Greater Houston Grantmaker’s Forum.

Funders Together to End Homelessness is the only national network for funders working to end homelessness. Membership in Funders Together, an approved 501(c)(3) entity, is open to all funders currently engaged or interested in funding homelessness or affiliated programs. For more information on Funders Together to End Homelessness, please visit www.funderstogether.org.

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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