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

Joy Is The Resistance To The Oppression We Face

Funders Together to End Homelessness CEO, Amanda Andere, provided the opening remarks for the virtual State of the Movement from A Way Home America and Youth Collaboratory on July 23 and 24th with a message of joy and hope.


I finally have hope. Joy is the resistance to the oppression we face.

I had the honor of opening the A Way Home America and Youth Collaboratory two-day state of the movement. Some of my reflections: If you know me, you know I believe that no matter how hard our work, no matter how hard life is, we need to find joy. Joy is rooted in something deeper than fleeting happiness. It’s knowing that even though things are not well, all will be well. Because we have glimmers of hope. Joy comes through the shared humanity of our work rooted in a purpose bigger than ourselves. Joy is the resistance to the oppression we face. Despite the pain, we will have joy, because our lives matter.

I have not felt that joy for a while. I have not been able to utter the words hope these last few months. The overdue awakening to racism in our country, and the rightful uprising, was more painful than I expected. None of it was new, but it cut deeper into my soul.

But, I am gaining back my hope. Real change for me comes at the intersection of hope and boldness. The boldness and conviction from our movement to end youth and young adult homelessness...not by tinkering around the edges, but fundamentally uprooting the oppression in our systems gives me hope.

I have hope because we’ve finally moved from implementing racial equity to pushing for racial and housing justice.

I have hope because the energy on the streets is speaking louder than the people who are gatekeepers to resources and power.

I have hope because we are finally hearing what communities are saying will make them feel safe and know we can’t end homelessness until we defund and dismantle the systems designed for our oppression.

Transformation is not just a transformed or different outcome. It means transforming the process in the way we make decisions and prioritize resources. It’s the literal transformation of power. I have hope because power in A Way Home America is finally shifting to where it rightfully belongs, to the people closest to the problem.

During the State of the Movement event, we found hope together and were filled with joy, and as Asata Shakur says: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

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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