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

Leverage Public-Private Partnerships & Broker Relationships

Last updated: October 19, 2020

A strength of philanthropy is being a trusted convener among community stakeholders and bridging the public and private sectors. In times of disaster relief as the community is overwhelmed with the immediate and response stage, funders can act as neutral partner to influence and facilitate important relationships that are critical to effective long-term coordination and ensure voices from the community are present and have power at the table. Long-term relationships are an important foundation to ensuring buy-in for successful systemic change to build more equitable communities for all and the recommendation in this section reflect that long-term vision.  

New recommendations (but not examples) are denoted with *** 

Public-Private Partnerships Engagement

  • ***Hold local stakeholders accountable by following up and asking questions on how the decisions to use flexible Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars in the CARES Act have been enacted so that we ensure populations most affected are being prioritized and to build a foundation for equitable recovery  
  • ***Monitor possible subsequent relief packages and use public-private partnerships to influence and ensure that homelessness and housing needs are prioritized in coordination with other public agencies. Funders should also work to make sure that homelessness grantee partners have a voice in the implementation of any possible additional funds.  
  • ***Identify communities and people who are not being equitably supported during the response and recovery and bring together local government and community stakeholders to ensure these populations are being prioritized. 
  • Through public-private partnerships, resource a “Housing Stability Lead” to coordinate state and local action and act as the main point of communication for housing stakeholders, including financial institutions, property owners, renters, housing counselors, and legal aid organizations. Advocate for and resource this position to become long-term to assist during the recovery and rebuilding period. 

Examples & Resources:


Building and Brokering Community Relationships

  • Offer your organization and staff as resources of information or identify a partner who can compile, analyze, and communicate best resources and guidance.  
  • Be firm and vocal about prioritizing populations that are not typically funded through Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), such as youth and young adults experiencing homelessness.  
  • Utilize relationships within the private sector to build support and push for the acquisition and conversion of unused property (like hotels or office buildings) for long-term solutions to replace congregate shelter models 
  • Community foundations, already seen as committed to supporting the betterment of their community, should leverage the relationships they have with local leaders from all sectors to ensure that homelessness and equity are at the forefront of policy and funding decisions. 
  • ***Identify and build relationships with new sectors and partners to coalesce and align on new sources of funding for COVID-19 recovery support so that relationships are solidified and healthy for long-term planning and action. 
  • Provide a virtual convening space for multi-sector community leaders to think strategically about the recovery process. Ensure people with lived expertise are in decision-making seats at the table and provide resources to compensate for their time and knowledge 
  • ***Find and fund alternative ways to bring people together on a regular basis to keep relationships strong and set up the conditions to coordinate and act quickly when needed. 
  • Bring partners and funders from other intersecting systems like health, employment, education, immigration, and legal justice, to do long-term strategy cross-systems work on an on-going basis.  
  • ***Start identifying and reaching out to cross-sector partners to design coordination for equitable vaccine distribution, especially to historically marginalized and vulnerable communities like people experiencing homelessness.  

Examples & Resources:  




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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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