Alicia Lara, current Funders Together Board Chair, and Katie Hong, previous Board Chair, introduce the new Funders Together Strategic Framework, what led us to it, and what it means for our members, philanthropy, and the movement.
In 2019, we released our Commitment to Racial Equity which codified the work Funders Together to End Homelessness was already engaged in and put into words the why and the how of our work. It also named our responsibility to be transparent about what we believe and are aiming to accomplish as an organization and with our membership.
This public commitment wasn’t the end of our journey but the beginning, because equity is a starting point – not the end goal. Over the past few years, we’ve continued to push ourselves internally and with our members and partners to grapple with what it means to truly root our work in racial equity, and intentionally move to embed a justice and liberation lens to all we do.
We had candid conversations with the board, staff, and trusted partners about what we were working towards and how that shaped the way we show up in the movement: we want a future state that has ended homelessness by achieving housing justice. And because we believe that housing justice is racial justice, we’ve set forward on a path towards a liberated society that is Pro-Black and Pro-Indigenous.
To do this, we needed to truthfully examine our internal practices and ensure that we were living out our values stated in the Commitment to Racial Equity. During this process, we asked ourselves:
How can Funders Together mobilize and support philanthropy and the movement towards transformational change by going beyond racial equity to lead with justice and liberation?
Our 2022-2025 Funders Together Strategic Framework
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice awakenings, Funders Together embarked on a strategic planning process in collaboration with Wayfinding Partners between May 2020 to May 2021. We wanted to develop organizational capacity and action steps to actualize Funders Together’s demonstrated commitment to racial equity and housing justice and then take it a step further as we forge on towards justice and liberation. Throughout the process, we built on previous work, including the 2016-2020 strategy plan and our Commitment to Racial Equity. As an organization, board members and staff contended with and further articulated Funders Together’s mission, vision, and guiding principles as well as its strategic priorities in pursuit of housing justice.
Out of this work came our 2022-2025 Funders Together Strategic Framework. It is a roadmap for how we want to contribute to the collective work for housing justice – by elevating Pro-Black and Pro-Indigenous solutions that realize housing justice as racial justice, carrying out our unapologetic justice stance, move with intention and uplift our well-being, and model wellness and liberation internally.
As our new vision states, we want to work with the housing justice movement to reimagine and transform systems to be Pro-Black and Pro-Indigenous using an intersectional lens to achieve housing and racial justice. We also want to actualize how wellness and collective care are prioritized and practiced across the movement because restoration and joy are a part of a more liberated world and the future state we want.
We will do this through our bold and unapologetic stance that true justice and liberation cannot be achieved until the current practices many in the philanthropic sector are currently operating are dismantled, then reoriented and reimagined towards a more liberated way of resourcing communities. Given that this is part of the future state we want to see, our Strategic Framework is rooted in this premise and informs our work now and all we will do moving forward
We will do this work as individuals, as an organization, and we hope to do this work together in partnership with others in the movement and beyond.
What To Expect For Our Work, Philanthropy, and the Movement
Funders Together to End Homelessness will continue to challenge ourselves internally and mobilize our members around what it means to achieve housing justice with a more just and liberated society. We will push philanthropy to re-evaluate its role in addressing homelessness and housing instability so that it can truly invest in solutions that shift power and resources.
In partnership with the movement, we will be an organization that helps incubate innovative ideas to show what is possible. We will work to normalize concepts and actions that are Pro-Black, Pro-Indigenous, and prioritize those who are most impacted. Funders Together also aims to continue its work to support and model the power of coalition-building as a mechanism for housing and racial justice.
Philanthropy and the housing justice movement can expect us to continue to show up in ways that are authentic and practice accountability to ourselves, members, and partners to ensure this work is co-created with people with lived expertise and adhere to principles true to racial justice. We will enter spaces bringing love and disruption to dismantle the status quo created by white supremacy and pursue creating an environment supportive of collective care.
Over the next few months, we’ll share more about this framework and what it means for the work towards housing justice – for Funders Together, for philanthropy, and for our movement. We look at this framework as a living document knowing that our actions may change in response to unknown and unexpected developments in the world. The vision, mission, and strategic positioning and priorities offer a foundation and a compass for charting a new course. And we hope you’re ready and willing to join us on this journey for a more just and liberated future.
We also hope you’ll join us on Thursday, September 22 at 2pm ET as we host a funder call to hear more about our journey, learn what it means for our collective work in the movement, and ask your questions. Learn more and register here.
Alicia Lara, Community Partners
Katie Hong, KH Consulting, LLC
Previous Board Chair